The views on this site are completely our own and do not represent VSO. Use the links below to navigate.

2 Dec 2010

The first 3 months!

At the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh just after it poured with rain.

Today I have officially been in Cambodia for 3 months. Weirdly it feels like a long time but also not very long at all. I am feeling especially happy today because my work has suddenly started to progress and I will visit my first schools on Monday. I haven't really wanted to write too much about work until now because I've been trying to be positive and optomistc and I didn't want to write anything that sounded negative about my job. And there have been a few days where I have literally had nothing to do. You think you are prepared for things to move slowly but really, in the back of your mind, you're thinking 'I'm sure things will be different for me!'

The Provincial Office of Education (POE) where I work

We had been warned that it could take a few months for our work to start progressng but you should use that time for relationship building in your schools and offices. I have been relationship building for 6 weeks now and that side of things is going very well but I am yet to set foot in a school (and my job is to support teachers in the classroom with using more child friendly methodology to contribute the school's effective teaching and learning as a whole). I have been feeling a little disheartened and I have started to really miss teaching. But patience, a chance encounter with the right person and a lot of broken Kmai has resulted in me arranging my first visit to not 1 but 2 schools. (He asked 'Have you been to any schools already?' and I answered 'I want, I want, yes, yes, to go!' I actually can say that sentence properly in Kmai but I was very excited and wanted to show my enthusiasm so only managed a jumbled collection of words but they seemed to do the trick). And the schools are on the island opposite Kratie Town so it will even mean having an exciting boat journey to get there.

My office and the lovely women that work there.

My desk is the messy one on the left...

Today I also had a meeting with VSO and my office and it seems there were a few misunderstandings as my placement is new so I think things will start to move forward a lot quicker now. I feel very inspired again and this morning, while running along side the Mekong River as the sun rose, I remembered how lucky I am to be here.

I want to end this blog with a few of my favourite Kmai words (and their literal meanings) and a list of some things I've learnt about Cambodia while sitting at my desk twiddling my thumbs or attending the very frequent workshops that have been arranged for November (when I have my translator.)

1. Most Cambodian 9 years olds ride their motos better and faster than me, often with multiple passengers. (There is a school opposite my office. I haven't been inside but I do look at it wistfully alot.)
2. It is completely normal and very acceptable to answer your phone during a workshop, even if you are the one delivering it!
3. People spend a lot of time in meetings and workshops talking about things not relevant to the meeting but that make everyone laugh a lot.
4. Cambodians love snacks!

My favourite Kmai words:
  • pee bak (sad/depressed/stressed: literally - difficult emotions)
  • da laying (wander/stroll: literally - play walk)
  • Som, knyom mok yute (Sorry, I'm late: literally: Sorry I came slowly) Strangely enough I actually haven't had to use this yet but that may be due to the Cambodian time keeping which happens to be worse than mine!
  • kone sao (key: literally - baby of the lock)
  • chlong tonlay (give birth: literally - to cross the river)
  • k'chill (lazy, as in I'm k'chilling right now)
I will take lots of pictures on Monday so you can expect my next blog to be full of talk about the schools I will be visiting (finally!).

1 comment:

  1. nice photos Gilly... good to hear things are starting to move!