Friday, February 11, 2011

A good day 02/10/2011

Today has been a really crazy, good day so far. I'll start from the beginning. This morning I woke up around 6. This is the time my family gets up. We're pretty lazy for a kmai family. In training, My family woke up every morning at 4:30am. Anyway, I get up and do the usual to get ready for my kmai lesson and work. I look at my watch and somehow it's only 6:30. I actually have enough time to go to the market today! So I mosey on over to the market and buy a whole bunch of bananas which costs about 25 cents here. Then I go over to my waffle lady. Now waffles in Cambodia are not the same as they are in America. First off, they're made from rice flour. Plus they tast totally different, but they look the same and they're hot off the griddle. I'm usually the first one in line so I get the first two of the day. I go back home and make a banana and peanut butter waffle sandwich. SO delicious. I eat it as I walk to the temple for my kmai lesson, which is abnomally productive.

I go to work and people are cleaning and things are getting done. All because the US Ambassador to Cambodia decided to visit my site today! I found out a day and a half ago. Around 8:30 Am two giant white vans roll up in front of my health center. The Ambassador, her name is Carol, steps out and we chit chat. I give her a tour of the HC and describe the services. Answer some questions and what not. Act like I give tours everyday. Some kids are furiously coloring, the toddler that tried to eat my crayons runs into the Ambassador. Carol, because only on a blog am I on a first name basis with any politician, asks a woman how old her baby is. The woman quickly replies 7 months and then goes on a long spiel about how her baby has 'romuh' on his hand. It's a word I haven't found a satisfying translation to yet. It sometimes means an itch, but not always. Somewhere between a skin affliction/rash/itchyness. We eventually get to move on, but that baby had the saddest baby face I've ever seen. Usually, babies look pretty nonchalant even when they're suffering. But this one knew it was dealing with something extremely unpleasant while two strangers stared at him. The whole visit is over in an hour and it was a really fun hour. I like things that are pleasant and shake up my day. Especially if it's an opportunity to speak in a language I know fluently.

After that I go to this big meeting at the Commune Office. All the village health volunteers are there and we chit chat. I get an awesome sandwich out of it. In the middle of eating my sandwich the meeting starts again. Did I mention that because of the Ambassador I missed the first half? Trust me, that was a blessing. Anyway, the reason we have the meeting is because a new NGO is starting to work in my town and I get along very well with the Project Manager, who speaks excellent English and is the first Cambodian I've met that told me he wanted to go to Africa. Not only does he want to go to Africa, but he wants to help the people there. In the meanwhile, he settles for helping Cambodians in Cambodia. Anyway, he tells me to go sit in the front. A few minutes later I realize that he means in the front with all the important people facing the audience. So I between the Chief of Police and the Chief of my Commune. He's next to the Chief of another Commune and my Health Center Director. It's me and a bunch of middle aged/elderly Cambodian men. About 20 min into the meeting he asks me to talk to the group...I have no idea what to say and I thankfully did not have to say it in kmai. Usually, I do an OK job of speeches in kmai, but usually I practice before hand. Luckily, the project manager agreed to translate for me so I just said a short speech right there on the spot.The rest of the meeting isn't bad. The guy even said once that (I'm paraphrasing) " If we don't use the funds then Sudan will get it! Do you know where Sudan is?" I cracked up inside. By the time it ended it was 11 and time to go home.

I get home and a few minutes later the Peace Corps car rolls up just before lunch. I get 4 packages. One from PC, one from my fam, one from lawrence, and one from Amazon. The one from Amazon was a gift from a friend and was insane because I did not believe that Amazon could deliver to Cambodia. The shipping cost more than the gift but only by a few dollars. The one from PC was standard, some meds, some forms, a resource book I asked for, and 3 CHRISTMAS CARDS!!! I was so excited. At least one was postmarked December took 2 months to get to me, but it finally made it. Thanks Nandini and Ian! The third is from my fam.  Package from Lawrence is full of awesomeness. Thank you so much! A letter is coming your way. I've already written it. The package from my fam was full of stuff I asked for. Including my makeup. Yea, its strange that even in Cambodia I need to worry about looks. It also included ear plugs. I'm convinced that in 10 years, Cambodia will have the highest rate of deaf youth/middle aged people in the world. I'm pretty sure no one here knows that loud music or sounds will make you go deaf. There's also no sense of privacy in Cambodia. Everyone knows everyones business, medical or otherwise. Also, you can play your music or sing karaoke as loud as you want and no one will complain. Cars and motos beep their horns to make sure you get out of the way before they almost mow you down.Anyway, even though I knew what to expect I still get great joy from opening it because i never know how my instructions will take physical shape. Thank you to everyone that sent me something and also for everyone that keeps in touch whether by calling or through the internet. It is awesome to have friends and family and I never want to be without either! Did I mention that for lunch we had pork instead of fish? Awesome!


  1. I see now why you need multiple pages when you intend to write something; the first page is almost always bs, and then when you run out of bs, you start thinking....
    sorry about the late christmas cards >.>

  2. Hi Helen!!!! Are the earphones alright? I wasn't sure if they're the kind you were asking for, but they're the ones that a lot of my friends have and they block out sound (right?).