After rereading my blog post “Initial Reactions”, I have a few things to say…
First and foremost, it feels like I wrote that post only yesterday... not over a year ago. Secondly, most of those things I wrote about - namely my anxiety to move into a host family and my understanding of the culture – were in the most part correct. Those few months of training were the hardest I’ve had to go through – and I would never want to go through that again. Ever.
Having been thrown the question of “so what exactly ARE you doing over there?” more than once, I suppose now is the time to carefully write out what I have been doing all the way out here in SE Asia besides the obvious - surviving. Specifically, it is time to finally write down what I will do and DO IT. With only five months left I hope putting this "To-Do" list on such a public forum will give me some more incentive to see things through. So ...I expect all of you to hold me accountable for the things mentioned below.
I have laid it out in an easy to read format (bullets) so that you may peruse at your discretion.
- English/Leadership Club: Although I have been absent recently due to GRE testing and preparation as well as two New Year celebrations (Western and Chinese), I am throwing myself into it this next week – starting with essay writing. The students in the club requested that I teach it to them – starting with paragraphs- and so I plan on doing that for as many weeks as it takes. The leadership aspect of the club has been a harder subject to breach. My hope is to secretly teach them ethics, speaking, and things like that through the guise of essay writing.
- Library: Finishing the world map (finally) and getting the library into some kind of organized system. I’ve also been made aware of some grant money I can apply for that would help in getting some much needed, albeit expensive, items like a white board and reference books.
- Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) Health camp? Still a big question mark as we wait to see if we qualify for grant money… cross your fingers :)
- Studying for the GREs. I recently took them in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and could be much happier with the score I received. I hope to take them again sometime in the spring before they change the test again (for the umpteenth time). (Side note, when I told my co-teachers of my disappointment they asked if I offered some corruption to the test givers. When I said no, they just shook their heads and laughed. I still don’t know if they were telling a joke or being sincere. I assume the latter).
- Teaching. I have been doing a lot less of this recently though as my co-teachers seem to be on perpetual hiatus. For example, Chinese New year was celebrated this week and when I showed up to teach I was surprised to find most of the teachers and students gone. Some other teachers told me it was because of the New Years celebrations. Everyone seems to be Chinese on Chinese New Year. Here’s hoping to better attendance these last few months.
- Cleaning my room and washing my clothes. It takes enough time, and is such a pain, that it warrants at least an entire day of my week. Sad but true.
- Planning for the future? With the post-Cambodia future within sight, I find myself spending more of my hours at site thinking about those months following the end of my service. If any of you know of someone who would like to hire me from September/October 2011 until the summer 2012 – I am all ears. I have lots of skills such as… mosquito swatting, washing clothes by hand, and cussing in Cambodian. Resume available by request.
Also, one of my good friends - who is also a fellow volunteer but with Volunteer Service Abroad aka VSA (New Zealand's verson of the Peace Corps) has been volunteering at the Cambodian Center for the Protection of Children's Rights (CCPCR) for over a year now. CCPCR is an amazing and much needed shelter for women and children who have been, or are in danger of being, trafficked. Not only does it provide shelter to these women and girls but helps fund their education and professional training. Unfortunately their funding will dry up this month and so she and some people back in New Zealand and the United States (Thanks Mom!) are trying to raise a bit of money to see them through a few more months. To get more information about the center you can go to http://www.ccpcr.org.kh/program/?program=9&pro_id=16 and to donate please visit www.givealittle.co.nz/org/ccpcr. If you wish to donate please note that the currency is in New Zealand dollars and not USD.