It has been a very interesting ten days in Cambodia so far although the idea that I live here now as yet to sink in. Has I have not yet perfected my blog style or content I would be delighted to get feedback and or questions from you all.
Let me just recap for those joining late and to add some additional information that I have learnt since my arrival.
So what brings me to Cambodia, well last October I applied to Volunteer Service Overseas VSO as I pretty much felt that I had hit a wall with regards my career in my last job, also wanted to do something which would I hope have wider impact in another country and of course the change to see and live somewhere every different from Ireland.
So after been accepted as Volunteer and deciding to give a 2 year commitment I completed 2 online courses and 2 residential courses. I did not have geographical preference as to where I would volunteer and decided instead to look for the role that best fitted what I was after where-ever that may have been.
So I was offered a placement as an Advocacy Management Advisor with the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association CITA which I gladly accepted. I am not sure how much information you want to know about CITA. Basically it does what it says on the tin, it is the only independent teachers' organisation in Cambodia which has political environment which is not exactly predisposed towards trade unions or civil society although that is changing. Anyway CITA was established in 2000-01 by Mr. Rong Chhun who is a very committed and inspirational union leaders and political activist.
My role or at least what I think my role is at this stage is to help CITA develop it's advocacy and organisational capacity, so basically to help them develop policies, actions and training that will further the organisation in reaching its objectives. This role obviously will be very varied and challenging but I am hoping it will prove befintal both to me, CITA and VSO. So how does it work well while I am called a Volunteer I am not in the through sense as I receive an allowance while working with CITA and the relationship is one of Employer-Employee. Anyway if you want to know more about CITA or my role just let me know.
So last Wednesday I departed Dublin airport dropped off by Rory McDaid (thanks Rory). The first crises was at the Eithad airways desk when for a brief moment I was told I would have to pay €280 for excess baggage. However this was quickly resolved as I was traveling on a special fare and entitled to a 40kg allowance thank goodness. Eithad by the way are the best airline I have flown with, comfortable seats, great crew, good in-flight service. Anyway several hours later I arrived in Abu Dhabi and caught a flight to Bangkok were I decided to go mad and check into a room at the airport to sleep during the 7 hour stop over and boy oh bot did I sleep.So eventually after waking up refreshed I continued onto Phnom Penn at 14.30hrs and was greeted by VSO staff and duly got my Visa sorted (well kind of) initially I will have three month visa until I got my work visa which will last longer.
So after that we headed to the VSO office which is on ST 214 see the PP map very close about 5min from Royal Place. Needless to say that since arriving the temperature has not dropped much below 20C but is the humidity that is the thing you have to get use to which on a good day is 60% but usually 80% especially now as we are in the rainy season.
Anyway I have been in PP before and was not overcome with the desire to do all the usually touristy stuff so instead I found my away to Rorys' pub on ST 178 or art street because of all the arts and crafts shops and yes I had beer. That was on Thursday 2nd which seems like an age ago so much has happened since which will be the subject of my next blog.