2007.02.20: February 20, 2007: Headlines: COS - Cambodia: Training: Personal Web Site: Cambodia Peace Corps Volunteer Kevin writes: It's our third week here, which means we're nearly halfway through training

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Cambodia: Peace Corps Cambodia: Peace Corps Cambodia: Newest Stories: 2007.02.20: February 20, 2007: Headlines: COS - Cambodia: Training: Personal Web Site: Cambodia Peace Corps Volunteer Kevin writes: It's our third week here, which means we're nearly halfway through training

By Admin1 (admin) (adsl-70-240-139-254.dsl.okcyok.swbell.net - 70.240.139.254) on Thursday, March 22, 2007 - 8:18 am: Edit Post

Cambodia Peace Corps Volunteer Kevin writes: It's our third week here, which means we're nearly halfway through training

Cambodia Peace Corps Volunteer Kevin writes: It's our third week here, which means we're nearly halfway through training

Also, becuase it's our third week in the village, I think some of our romanticized notions of Cambodian culture are starting to fade and we're beginning to see the less attractive aspects of it. For one thing, the culture, at least at the village level, is really conservative. Apparently you can ruin a woman's repuatation just by being alone with her, even in public. And staying out later than dark (i.e. 6:45) is strictly forbidden. Although there's the obvious safety reasons, too, since there are no street lights and every street has dogs. But since many of the volunteers are just out of college, it's been tough for a lot of us to get used to this.

Cambodia Peace Corps Volunteer Kevin writes: It's our third week here, which means we're nearly halfway through training

Week 3

It's our third week here, which means we're nearly halfway through training. Very exciting. So far it's been more of the same with langauge class in the morning, training in the afternoon and a seminar in the city every week or so.

So far we've yet to do any actual teaching. We don't start teaching until next month when the new quarter starts, although we did get a chance to visit the local high school and watch some of the teachers teach English. At first many of us were concerned about being poor teachers, but watching the local teachers at work has assuaged a lot of our fears.

I've also managed to start a basketball game routine at the high school every afternoon with some of the teachers, students and villagers. Every evening after playing, I stay and chat with some of the teachers and students. It's been a great way to meet people. It's also one of the few ways you can exercise in this place. I used to try biking in the morning, but with all the dirt I think I actually did my health more harm than good.

Last weekend the village celebrated Chinese New Year. I was surprised to see how many people here have Chinese blood. My host family and all my neighbors are part-Chinese. In the markets especially you can find a lot of store owners setting off firecrackers and putting up signs on their storefront. Yet the Chinese here seem much more assimilated than they are in the states. One of the good friends I've made here, my neighbor Perong, is part-Chinese. When I asked what part of China his family was from, he said he didn't know, because his grandparents were killed by the Khmer Rouge and they were the only ones who knew. "But it doesn't matter," he said, "because I love Cambodia and I'm proud to be Cambodian." That seems to be the case with a lot of Cambodian-Chinese here. When I asked to district governor for info he said they considered the Chinese to be Khmer since they spoke the same langauge, and were Buddhist. It's quite unlike the Muslim Cham population here who are very autonomous.

Also, becuase it's our third week in the village, I think some of our romanticized notions of Cambodian culture are starting to fade and we're beginning to see the less attractive aspects of it. For one thing, the culture, at least at the village level, is really conservative. Apparently you can ruin a woman's repuatation just by being alone with her, even in public. And staying out later than dark (i.e. 6:45) is strictly forbidden. Although there's the obvious safety reasons, too, since there are no street lights and every street has dogs. But since many of the volunteers are just out of college, it's been tough for a lot of us to get used to this.

In addition, the staff again and again have been warning us about what they call the undercurrent of violence that permeates Cambodian society. On Wednesday they made us read some of incidents in the police blogger from a Phnom Penh newspaper. There were two accounts of sword attacks and axes to the head, one beheading, one shooting, a machete attack and so on -- and sometimes they were for the most trivial reasons, like one man thinking his neighbor had thrown a stone over his roof.

Next week Monday is a big day since we find out where we'll be living and working for the next two years. We're going to be situated in one of seven provinces: Kampong Cham, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Takeo, Kampot, Battambang and Siem Reap. It seems like a lot of people are hoping for Siem Reap for the obvious reason that it's close to Angkor Wat, but I don't know much about most of the other places. Well, that's it for now. Here's to making it through the "hot"month of April.




Links to Related Topics (Tags):

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





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