2007.02.13: February 13, 2007: Headlines: COS - Cambodia: Quad-City Times: Molli Barker is learning a lot these days, as she and her fellow Peace Corps volunteers begin to learn the culture, food and customs of Cambodia

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Cambodia: Peace Corps Cambodia: Peace Corps Cambodia: Newest Stories: 2007.02.13: February 13, 2007: Headlines: COS - Cambodia: Quad-City Times: Molli Barker is learning a lot these days, as she and her fellow Peace Corps volunteers begin to learn the culture, food and customs of Cambodia

By Admin1 (admin) (adsl-70-240-139-254.dsl.okcyok.swbell.net - 70.240.139.254) on Thursday, March 22, 2007 - 8:17 am: Edit Post

Molli Barker is learning a lot these days, as she and her fellow Peace Corps volunteers begin to learn the culture, food and customs of Cambodia

Molli Barker is learning a lot these days, as she and her fellow Peace Corps volunteers begin to learn the culture, food and customs of Cambodia

Cambodia is undergoing intense change as the country works to recover from the ravages of the Pol Pot regime. Pol Pot called the beginning of his reign in 1975 “Year Zero.” During his rule of torture, starvation and poverty, 1.5 million of the 7 million people in Cambodia died. Many others fled their homeland, some never to return again. The country is becoming a popular tourist location, and a variety of agencies are launching efforts there to help with the rebuilding.

Molli Barker is learning a lot these days, as she and her fellow Peace Corps volunteers begin to learn the culture, food and customs of Cambodia

Q-C woman on 1st Peace Corps crew in Cambodia
By Ann McGlynn | Tuesday, February 13, 2007

(2) Comments | Rate this article | Default | Large

Text messaging from the U.S. to Cambodia is cheaper than calling.

Fried tarantulas taste kind of like potato chips.

And laundry indeed can be done with two buckets, one with soapy water, one with clean.

Molli Barker, of Bettendorf, is learning a lot these days, as she and her fellow Peace Corps volunteers begin to learn the culture, food and customs of the country she will be calling home for the next two years.

They are the first Peace Corps crew into Cambodia — a major milestone in the country’s rebuilding from years of unimaginable horror.

“I am honored,” Barker said in an e-mail interview. “I told the Peace Corps to put me wherever I was needed, and they put me here. I am very happy it was Cambodia. It’s a very beautiful place.”

Barker is one of 30 people on the inaugural crew in Cambodia. The group includes two married couples, recent college graduates like Barker and people in their 40s, said Nathan Hale Sargent, Peace Corps spokesman.

Cambodia is the 139th country to partner with the Peace Corps, he said. Cambodia had asked for the Peace Corps to send workers in the early 1990s. However, political instability and budget prevented the organization from establishing a post until now.

Cambodia is undergoing intense change as the country works to recover from the ravages of the Pol Pot regime. Pol Pot called the beginning of his reign in 1975 “Year Zero.” During his rule of torture, starvation and poverty, 1.5 million of the 7 million people in Cambodia died. Many others fled their homeland, some never to return again.

The country is becoming a popular tourist location, and a variety of agencies are launching efforts there to help with the rebuilding.

Barker will undergo three months of intense training in the country’s capital of Phnom Penh, including the country’s language; customs and cultural lessons; security and safety information; and job training.

She will then go to live with a host family in a village in April, teaching English to high school students and teachers. Eventually, the Peace Corps might expand its scope to health, agriculture, business and technology, Sargent said.

Barker is about one of 100 volunteers from Iowa now serving worldwide, Peace Corps statistics show. She is the daughter of Bill and Teresa Barker and sister of Jacob and Alyssa Barker, all of Bettendorf.

Her interest in international volunteering began when she went to Costa Rica to help at an orphanage one summer. She then traveled to Spain, where she tutored refugee children in English skills.

A 2003 graduate of Pleasant Valley High School, she earned degrees in political science and Spanish from Western Illinois University in December.

She is eager to begin her work with children, as “they are so willing to learn,” Barker wrote. She is nervous about learning the language, called Khmer, but says that so far, that “seems to be going pretty well.”

“I think this will change me entirely,” she said of the next two years of her life. “It will make me more aware of people’s needs and give me a whole new perspective of life in general.”

Ann McGlynn can be contacted at

(563) 383-2336 or amcglynn@qctimes.com.




Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: February, 2007; Peace Corps Cambodia; Directory of Cambodia RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Cambodia RPCVs





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Story Source: Quad-City Times

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