Thursday, March 25, 2010

the sound of relief...

so its raining today. i've never adored the sound of rain as much as i do today... or rather for the remainder of time i am in cambodia. today is cool with a lot of moisture in the air. its not cold, its just right. the sun isn't beating down on the house or my skin either...

anyway, here are some recent photos from site. a few of the photos are of my home and the others are from the wedding i attended last week. a teacher from my school got married...

also, i will be going on vacation in a couple of weeks for about a month. i will be checking out the north of the cambodia, visiting my training family in takeo, and visiting laos and vietnam. i'll be sure to take photos. enjoy these for now...


This is at the end of the wedding. We are wearing traditional khmer wedding attire. The colors are usually very vibrant. The sampots are made out of silk. Depending on the quality of the silk, a dress can cost anywhere between 25-65 USD. Yes, that's a lot of money.

These two girls are my students. They are younger, so I suppose they are wearing modern dresses. Very prom like.

This is my favorite wedding food. Small, fried egg rolls except with more meat. Yum! Tasty! Another good thing about this dish is how easy they are picked up with chopsticks and popped into your mouth. A khmer wedding is similar to a chinese one. The food is reminiscent of chinese food, but not exactly. People are sitting together at tables and 6-8 courses are served depending on who is throwing the wedding party. Sadly, there is no wedding cake. Also, there is no wedding registry, so people give money. I usually give $10, which is a lot for a meal.

Normally, weddings out in the villages, you will see little children picking up empty beer and soda cans that are thrown on the ground. At this particular wedding, there was this one table full of drunk khmer men who were egging on a little boy (probably 10 years old) to drink glasses of beer for the empty cans. It made me sick to my stomach. Its not cool. Totally not cool.

I was sitting at this table with a few of the other female teachers. This photo is similar to the other photo I posted last month. The expressionless, vacant faces of the female teachers almost leads me to believe how "not" fun weddings are. The tables are usually separated by sex.

This is the bride. She is probably 24 years old. I almost didn't recognize her with the makeup and accessories.

This is my brother in law, Vuthy. He is picking mangoes from one of the several trees around our house.

This is my sister, Rathmoney. She is around 40 years old. She is holding up some freshly picked, unripe mangoes. Khmer people like eating unripe mango with salt and chili. The sour, salty and spicy combination is tasty, but I prefer sweet mangoes.

Another photo of them picking mangoes. At the end of the bamboo stick, there is a small basket to catch the mango. One must be careful not to touch the sap that comes from the branch and freshly picked mango because you could develop a rash.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Camp GLOW underway!

Hello. My secondary project this summer will be a girls camp, where girls in the 10-11th grade will learn about gender issues, female empowerment, careers and the benefits of higher education. Today, my co-teacher and I were able to get all the signatures, stamps and ok's from the necessary departments in our district and province for the go ahead! YES! SUCCESS! Keiko (pcv from Kompong Chhnang) and I will now work on securing the venue and writing the proposal for a small grant. YAY! This is a good start to our project and we are making good time.

Today was a good day. Oh, I also ate 4 mangoes today and they all came from the trees surrounding the house. Jealous? Tomorrow, I will try to eat 5.

BTW, here's a link to an interesting article on the peace corps--

Here are a few shots of my lazy dog, Lucy. She is suppose to be a guard dog...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How may I help you...?

i taught a mini geography lesson to my two of my english classes friday. it was suppose to be a fun activity and it sorta was. since the majority of my students think north america and france are the same country (yes i realize what i wrote), i wanted to introduce the world to them in 50 mins. i used photos of different places of different countries from national geographic and cut them up into puzzle pieces. the class split into small groups and started to rearrange the pieces into a whole photo. Meanwhile, i taped a giant map of world onto the white board. once the groups completed the puzzle, they tried to find the places on the map. i had them find cambodia first ; )

the goal of my lesson was simply to make it fun and interactive, so that to inspire and offer them new knowledge. they said they enjoyed it and it did look like they enjoyed putting the puzzles together by the faces they made. but at the end, i asked them if they like the lesson. one of my students said that its not so important they know about other parts of the world because mostly everyone in the class cannot afford to travel and see the places...literally at that moment my heart skipped a beat... i know that one student who voiced his opinion isn't the voice of all the students....but its just really sad and pathetic. they have no hope or aspiration to pull themselves out of a situation. and mind you, this boy is in my best, most advanced class out of the entire school.

unfortunately, i was teaching alone that day. if my co teacher was there, he would've backed me up. i dunno...teaching is not getting any easier. i'm not gonna give up on this topic. i'm planning a geography class for the summer.

***UPDATE: Several weeks ago, i helped out some of students with essays for study abroad scholarships. One of my students was selected to move on to the next phase, which is an exam in PP. If he passes the tests, he will move on to the interview/presentation phase. CROSS YOUR FINGERS! This is great news, but there are a few more hurdles!

anyway, here are some random photos of my site: my room, school, students....

Cambodian flag

My house. See the car to the right? Also, my family is sittle underneath the house.

This is the main part of the house. Everyone sleeps on the floor. At night, they put up the mosquito nets and lay out the thin mattresses. 9 other people live here.

I have my own room with an actual bed. I don't have an actual mattress, only a thin camping type pad. It works. its not the most comfortable, but i bet i have a super straight spine now. the size of the room and the low ceilings make my room extremely hot. my host family has also provided a fan for me. my site has 24-hour electricity.

This is the high school where i teach. it is fairly new building, however, we don't have electricity or clean running water. electricity is available, but teachers must pay for it. so, the fans and the lights at the school are non operational.

This is one of my top students. Her name is Ravin. She is looking up the location on a world map.

This is an area where various vendors sell food. Food stalls...see all the trash on the ground...? Unless it is a big tourist attraction, pretty much all over the country is littered with trash.

These are some of my students in my advanced speaking club. On this particular day, I had them choose photos of places they liked and had them speak on it. Not many students showed up....