Friday, 16 March 2012

It isn't all roses!

I suppose it was only a matter of time before my bubble of excitement exploded into the harsh reality of what  it means to live in Sreisiphon for 2 years.  This is definitely not part of a tourist circuit.  My barang (foreigner) status makes me very obvious as there are few who venture here other than volunteers or NGO's of some sort.  English isn't understood, but then again, neither is my Khmer. In the big picture, perhaps my Khmer will improve more rapidly. I haven't brought myself to taking many pictures yet is hard to get motivated to take photos of dust, dirt, potholes, traffic, and pancake flat countryside.  The one redeeming feature is a hill or two near town but that is it.

The view of a main street in Sreisiphon with one of the two mountains. 

There is no western food, house hunting has been, hum, discouraging and have I mentioned it is hot and humid. Back to the food thing...I am not going to resist the brownies in Kampong Cham when I go back and I may even allow myself a tandoori chicken burger with fries.  And April, about posting those delicious food items you are making...I'm making a list with the expectation that you will prepare my favourites in 2 years time.  

Well, if I sound bummed out, I might be. Wait a minute, I can hear the monks chanting in the distance!  Ahhhh yes perhaps I should be more Buddhist-like in my thinking.  The children are so delightful though and people are very friendly, always smiling and eager to please.  Then of course, I must realize why I am here.  I truly would like to contribute to making this world a better place even if it is just with tiny steps, in an impoverished country, where people deserve to have a better life.  Okay, feeling better.  Thanks all staying tuned.

Two Days Later

Not so fast Andrea!  An update on yet another bad day.  Just starting to ask myself if I will manage to survive.  I was fine last night when I found a place to live and was going to sign the contract today.  After a couple of hours negotiating and translating, contract signed and feeling like I may manage a couple of years here, the husband decides he wants 1 year's rent guaranteed.  What? We had agreed on 3 months payment at a time for 2 years! (VSO's policy).  Okay, cancel contract.  So I am back to training in Kampong Cham, with the prospect that I will be living out of a suitcase for the foreseeable a guesthouse.

Well if that didn't bum me out, a storm was a brewing.  There was thunder and lightning and WINDS and FLOODS!  Sitting in my room watching the water flooding my hotel room floor as it streamed in around the windows, when a gust of wind came and blew the window out.  There it was, hanging by a piece of metal.  Luckily the other volunteer grabbed the window before it fell to the ground 3 floors below.  It was scary.  Too busy to take pictures.  Oh, did I mention the power was out and they had candles in the hallway. No emergency lights here. The hotel staff managed to rescue the window but I needed a new room.  So, here I am in yet another room that is also flooded but at least it has a window.

This was just a "shower" they say, wait until the monsoons!
I did have a highlight today.  I hire a very lovely VA (Volunteer Assistant).  His name is Vomith.  He is sooooo lovely and gentle and kind.  He will be a real joy.  The fun part was when he took me to check out a guesthouse for when I return.  I got to ride on the back of his motorbike!  just like the Cambodians do! on bumpy, dusty, roads, weaving around the potholes and slowing for the obstacles (you would never in your wildest dreams imagine the variety of obstacles).  And you know what?  I felt such excitement about my life in Sreisiphon.

Wonder what is in store for my next blog.  Well Kymberley, you have no idea how meaningful your care package will be.  I don't care if the peanut butter cookies are powder by the time I get them.  They are going to be soooooooo appreciated!!!

Lots of love everyone and thanks for the emails.  They really do keep me going.  See ya next time.


  1. Keep on finding those silver linings in all the storm clouds!!
    Thinking of you!

  2. You are such a delight! Louise. Thanks. I will be putting your grad picture on my fridge...when I get one:-)