Language Training Week 20-26th Sept.
Ok well it has been over two weeks since my last blog and to be honest I have been so busy and disconnected from the interweb that the blog or even keeping notes for it didn't even enter my head. Just to give a quick summary of what has been happening since the infamous bike ride which was the topic of the last blog. Well the language classes continued apace for until Sunday 26th by which stage I think we were all starting to get a but tried but our Khmer is coming along in leaps in bounds. Needless to say I didn't get up to much else activity wise in this time except lots of reading. I read about half a dozen different reports on Education in Cambodia the more interesting of which are listed below.
2. Cambodian PRSP 2006
Placement Visit Week 27th Sept.-3rd Oct.
So the idea behind placement week is that we take a break from language training to go to our various placements meet with our line-managers (boss) and colleagues. So people heading off to various places including: Battambang, Kampong Thom and Stung Treng as well as my placement in Phnom Penh.
|Basic Map of Cambodia with main cities|
So anyway I hoped on the bus from Kampong Cham back to Phnom Penh which was pleasant 3hour trip. My placement week kicked off at 8.30am Monday morning when I had meeting with Zablon Kahura, Advocacy and Management Advisor of NGO Education Partnership NEP Cambodia. This was followed by a meeting with Rebecca Pino, from the Disability Action Council DAC. The day finished up with the big meeting with Mr. Rong Chhun, President of CITA and my future colleagues. All in all Monday was a very busy day but it was great to met the various people and to get so much information.
Tuesday was deacated to house hunting and all in all I saw 9 places and ended up taking the first place I saw, how typical is that. The apartment is good, has ensuite bedroom, huge living room, kitchen, washing machine and most importantly a balcony and good neighbours. I will post pictures once I move in which will be on the 20th of October and to be honest I can't wait.
On Wednesday morning I had one-to-one meetings with the key CITA staff who are really great people who I am really looking forward to working with. Indeed after that morning I really wanted to just stay there with them but I guess I can wait till the 25th Oct. Wednesday afternoon I headed to Kampot in the south of Cambodia. The 5 hour bus journey was made more entertaining as I traveled with another VSO'er Claire who is based in Kampot and having been in Cambodia two years she had loads of stories. Kampot by the way is the land of salt and pepper, actual salt and pepper not the pop group. The region is famous for its pepper corns and for the salt fields.
Wednesday evening I had a really relaxed meal with the VSO Kampot team which is made up of, Claire, Charlene and Chris, and Bob. A great bunch of people, Charlene and Chris were my hosts and they couldn't have been better. Indeed it was funny meeting Chris as he had spent time in Ireland and we ended up chatting about what was going on at home.
On Thursday morning I got to attend a meeting at Provincial Education Office which was a very useful experience and then Charlene took me on tour of Kampot and we chatted about her job which is based at the teachers training college. It was great to be able to have someone to ask all those annoying little questions and to see the reality on the ground for teachers and trainee teachers. Thursday evening was another meal out this time with a variety of ex-pats working in Kampot all of whom were really interesting to talk to.
|Epic Arts Dance Group|
Phnom Penh and this time the bus journey was a little bit longer due to a train derailment (no injuries) and only my broken Khmer conversation with my fellow passagers. Once back in Phnom Penh I went to dinner at my new neighbours. Finally on Sunday I finished off the week by picking up my tailor made pants (3 pairs) and taking the bus back to Kampong Cham where language training will recommence for another couple of weeks. At this stage I really am starting to think of Cambodia as home and just want to embrace everything it has to offer.