Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rumeus Hek (Roomy High),,

Is a very rural town 13 km from Vietnam and about 40 km from the provincial town. On Tuesday I was told that is where I will be living for the next two years and on Friday I went for a two night visit. The family is wonderful and, believe it or not, they have electricity. It is only for about 4 hours a day but it is enough for me to charge my phone and computer if need be. My father works in the District Office in town and my mother works part time at the referral hospital. That is another benefit of Rumeus Hek.. it has the referral hospital. For a 25 mile radius it is the only hospital to speak of. With two/three doctors it can be very busy. I was able to meet with some of the staff on Sunday to discuss what kind of role I can play at the hospital and community, both as an educator and volunteer. This part makes me a bit nervous as I am not an expert in health education or teaching English as a foreign language. Due to it being a very poor country and Rumeus Hek being a very poor district, the doctor made it clear that human resources are invaluable to them; especially someone with a college degree and a little experience. I cannot wait to be of some help :)

The family has four children, three girls and a boy. The eldest daughter is at University in Phnom Penh and the other three live at home. Their house is large by Khmer standards and has two large community rooms – one downstairs near the kitchen and another upstairs with a television. My room is adjacent to that room and has two windows that look out over their fruit trees (Mango and Coconut, mostly). I am still unsure of how many “bedrooms” they have.. .this seems to be a bit of a challenge as Khmer people often sleep in the same room they cook/host guests/watch tv etc (also having only known them for two days I felt it a bit awkward to just walk around their house).

One more month until swear-in after which I will move to my permanent site and I am getting increasingly anxious. I will not have internet access in my town and the nearest internet café is a 40 km bike ride away. If you would like to get a hold of me you may write to me (although my mail will be in the provincial town i.e. 40 bumpy km by bicycle) or you may call me. Send me an email for the digits

Will I know enough Khmer to survive? Will I be able to handle the 40 km bike ride to my Provincial town? Will a day go by in which a mosquito does not bite me? Only time will tell...


  1. Aw Kel. I'm bummed that you won't be able to update as much but we will just have to talk more via phone! I also hope a day will go by where you don't get bitten by a mosquito, and won't get in a bike accident. Scary. At least you have electricity:) I miss you tons and i am going to ship your package within this week so that you wont have to trek it on a 40 km bumpy ride;

  2. 40 km! That's like 25 miles! I will make my packages light from now on. Mango and Coconut trees, yum!

    How is Cambodian television? and the music?

    MISS YOU!!!!