Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Everyday a new beginning.

Hello Everyone,

Wow! You have been a great support.  Thanks so much for your encouragement and thoughtful comments.  I am doing quite fine now...nothing like a full blown meltdown to clear out all the residual stress that was building.  Survived, and even feeling excited about the next stage, the actual living in Sisophon and getting "established" in a routine of work and living K'mai.

So, what has happened lately. The big excitement was receiving a parcel from Canada.  Yahoo!  It was fun opening it with the other volunteers hovering over it to see what goodies were within.  And goodies there were.  THANK YOU KYMBERLEY!!! Unfortunately, the parcel had to be opened then put away as it was delivered moments before we were heading off to a "home-stay".  This was the part where we were to learn how many K'mai people live and practice our newly acquired language skill.  HAHAHAHAHA!!! Really?  I don't know what language they were speaking.  Some of the sounds did bear some resemblance to what Dara taught us and I did catch the odd, very odd, word but I would say, I have my work cut out for me.

Distributing mosquito nets for the homestay

This is the communities delivery room ...on this very bed!!

This is really how the children are is.  

The children were thrilled to see "tall Barang" who can play football.  

The family we stayed with was lovely.  The living was very simple, with cooking out the back, and eating out the front.  There was a very mangy dog (which barked all night along with the neighbours' dogs) several cows, chickens, roosters (which by the way, cock-a-doodle-do all through the night) and baby chicken scattered throughout.  The sleeping quarters were upstairs, where everyone just crashes on the hardwood floor in the one large room...everyone in the same room.  The toilet was down the steep back steps to the outside.  You don't want to have to pee in the middle of the night because the house is locked up and well, how would one negotiate the steep steps in the darkness.  There were other things in the night that I really didn't want to encounter either (spiders, centipedes for example).  There were 2 children who were living with their grandparents (owners of the house) who loved to follow us and join us for walks.  The parents of the children work in Phnom Penh, and the children see their parents about twice a year.  From what I could tell, there wasn't a lot of affection and the children always did exactly as they were instructed regarding chores.


Grandfather who was delighted to help with my Kmai and practice his  French! 

The sweet sweet granddaughter. 

The out back kitchen

The very cute grandson. 

the back yard with the "toilet out of view.

These little piggies are going to be "roast pork" 

chickies eating all the bugs just like their parents.

After a sleepless night of dogs barking and geckos croaking, we got up to a delicious breakfast and headed back to Kampong Cham.  Sunday was a relaxing day for showers, laundry and exchanging stories about our home-stays with the other volunteers.  Monday was very exciting.  That was our in-country motorcycle training.  Wow! That sure gets the adrenaline pumping, riding a motorcycle in Cambodia.  It was very funny because when we first started, we were just riding around the parking lot of the hotel.  I of course was remembering my B.C. training where you lost points for putting your foot down.  So, first turn, without putting my foot down, was a tad wide and I was heading right for some oil drums.  I managed to stop (okay, I sort of crashed but in slow motion and nothing damaged).     I, at least, managed to avoid the parked cars unlike one of the other volunteers.  Then I learned that you need to put your foot down when making tight turns.  After that, I was off and never looked back.  We rode through soft sand, bumpy dirt roads, through street vendors and markets, on the major highway and across the highway bridge.  Watch out Cambodia!  I can't believe that I will have my very own motorbike when I get to Sisophon.  Feels like a new toy.  I must say I so enjoy the challenge.

I have a lead on a house in Sisophon so will have a look at it when I get up there on Sunday.  I am just finishing up the in-country training in Phnom Penh, buying last minute treats to take to the "hinterland" of Banteay Mencheay, and then saying sad farewells to my fellow volunteers who will be spread out all over Cambodia.  I can't express how exhilarating this whole experience has been so far.  You have to love the full spectrum of emotions that truly make you realize that you are very much alive.  The drastic cultural changes and all the transitions are bound to affect us all, but resilient we are and I couldn't be happier with the support I feel from everyone at home and from my fellow volunteers.  Life is pretty darn great.

Thanks you all for your concerns, comments and encouragement.  I love hearing about your lives so keep sending your news.  I so cherish all of you and appreciate that you are there.

Lots of love and thoughts,

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