so, i'm back in angtasom district from our 2 day kapuchea adventure. mira, nick and i left around 6:30 am thursday and boarded a taxi headed for prey vang via phnom penh. traveling hectic, cramped and hot, like a sauna. so for 5-6 hours, we were crammed next to 12-14 khmer people sharing headed for multiple destinations in a mini van. at one point, some one was sitting on the roof of the mini van and 3 people puked duringthe commute. the road was seriously bumpy. but, we made it safe and somewhat sound and was welcomed by our wonderful k2 host. we stayed with the k2 and her host family for 2 nights. the k2 was awesome, her host family was awesome, her village was awesome. this k2 lives in a rural village east of the mekong river--about 3 to 5 hours away from phnom penh. her village is small and quite peaceful. honestly, i learned a lot on this short trip. it was nice to get an intimate picture of volunteer life after training. having seen the rural areas now, i'm more welcoming of the idea of being placed in one.
i was pleasantly surprised to learn that her host mom is ethinically chinese and was actually able to speak cantonese. wow! everyone told me that the chinese in cambodia speak some other dialect...the moment that her host mom revealed her ability to speak cantonese immediately changed the dynamic of the visit...from that moment on, she and i communicated in chinese. i think i may request a chinese cambodian family for my permanent site.
on the down side, she lives near a cambodian ngo that is supposedly run by this scumbag director who is pocketing all the fees that the students pay. we heard that the director is charging each student 7 USD (up from 2USD) and 20 kilos of rice per month in exchange for housing, food and education. apparently, the students are only getting 1 meal of day, consisting of rice and green vegetables. looks like all the money is going to the director's two wives...on the bright side, however, the kids who live at the school are so happy. they were just so optimistic and were so eager to practice their english with us. it's just so heartbreaking to see that they are directly affected by rampant, unchecked corruption.
ughh..while this issue may not be as disguisting as the above mentioned, it definitely bothers me a bit-- okay, so my two counterparts, nick and mira, are both american looking (white) and were the highlight of the trip for the people in the village. i, on the other hand, was constantly mistaken to be a khmai person. it happened everytime i was introduced to someone new...it was just frustrating. i think trying to explain immigration and being born in the us will be a challenge in itself because cambodian people have a different perspective of what culture is.
anyway, i'm tired of blogging. its impossible to tell you everything that i've seen or have learned. also, i really wish i could upload photos, but i'm worried about viruses at this internet cafe. sorry. i'll try to write more next time.