July 8, 2002

Hot, but rainy Monday afternoon


Since I last wrote things have been fairly quiet here. During the week I have more or less been in a routine of teaching 3 English classes per day. I have the first class from 6:30 – 7:30 am, the second one from 8:00 – 9:00 am and the third from 5:30 – 6:30 pm. Since most of the students are quite busy with work during the day two of the classes have to meet outside of the regular working hours. In between classes I have been helping people with various computer problems. We have also been printing training materials in color pretty much straight through the last couple of weeks, so I have spent some time refilling the color ink cartridge so that we don't have to buy a new one each time it runs out.

I spent the last three weekends here in Phnom Penh. Two weeks ago we had potluck and Wesley and I made samosas again. I also made egg gravy to put on toast for Sabbath breakfast and it really hit the spot. Saturday night we played games at the Scotts and I don't remember doing anything of interest on Sunday.

Last weekend was Wesley's last one here in Cambodia. I believe we actually went out to two different Indian restaurants for "last lunches" before he left. We also tried out a Christian coffee shop that is within walking distance of the mission compound where we attend church. I think the place is run by Americans and I was able to get a real chocolate milk shake (they also had malts and berry shakes on the menu) and freshly baked ginger snaps. Everything was very good, but a bit pricey, especially by Cambodian standards. On Saturday night we made quesadillas and played games at the Scotts as usual. The quesadillas took quite a while to make since we first had to make tortillas from scratch, but they turned out really well. On Sunday I made shortcake (which we ate with canned raspberries) and went over to Hernan and Corina's house to watch the final match of the world cup. Hernan and Corina are from Argentina so are required to root for any team playing against Brazil. We were disappointed that Germany didn't win, but not surprised by the outcome. The world cup has been quite a big deal here. The most annoying thing about watching it though is that the local station plays advertisements during the game. I'm told that in most countries they do not interrupt with ads, but here they do and a couple of times they have been playing an ad when a goal was scored even.

This last week Geof had too many things to do in Phnom Penh and didn't end up joining me at the project so things were even quieter than usual. One day this week I decided to get my breakfast at the market instead of having it at home, and purchased something that looked like donut holes. I could barely finish one since it turned out to be a thin layer of bread filled with some sort of salty soy bean paste. I also got some fresh baguettes so at least I had something good to eat instead. I also took a little time this week and drove out to visit the Adventist school and ICC (International Children's Care) Orphanage. It is about 7km or so out of town and I had not been there before this week. My visit was brief but it was nice to chat a little with the Australian family that is living and working there.

I was reminded of the darker side of Cambodian history this week while teaching English to the advanced group. When we came to a discussion question in the book, which asked "Did you hate high school?" the class agreed that they didn't hate high school. I asked if there was anything that they hated about it, and they all agreed that they really didn't like the required political classes and Russian language courses that they were required to take during the Pol Pot years.

This weekend a Treasurer from the GC spoke for church. After church I went to Scotts for lunch where we had a good meal. I also got to visit with Braden and Johanna who are here in Cambodia with Adventist Frontier Missions. When I first got here they were living here in Phnom Penh but now they are in one of the more remote areas of Cambodia. Their trip to Phnom Penh was quite interesting. It took about 12 hours and they had to swim a couple of rivers and walk 15km or so because the road was freshly washed out in places. Normally it shouldn't be quite that rough of a trip, but it is the rainy season and you never know I guess. They're planning to go back to their home this week. After lunch I went and picked up a friend I know from California named Rachel. She is here for about 6 weeks working with a Christian hospital boat that goes up and down the river providing health care to villagers. Since it was pretty rainy we decided to check out the National Museum which I hadn't been to before. The museum is fairly small, but has quite a few nice carvings, many of which are from Angkor Wat. On the way back from the museum we got rained on pretty good and I was quite wet. At least the rain cools things down a little bit, which is always nice. It great to see one of my friends from the States here in Cambodia, and I'll probably get together with Rachel again in a couple of weeks. After I dropped her off at the organization she is staying with, I went over to Scotts for another game night. This time we played Taboo for a while before playing a round of settlers. We finished up with a few games of a modified version of Uno. Sunday evening I went to a "hut warming" for Ross, the Australian guy who lives here and makes peanut butter. He is moving into an actual grass hut that is fairly open and not very big. I think there is one wall, and the other three sides are open with low eaves hanging down from the grass roof. The evening also doubled as a farewell party for Bill who has been teaching English at the Adventist school. He left today so now there is only one English teacher still here with the Adventist school. I think they are not going to have as many student missionaries here this coming year as they did before, but there are at least two new teachers coming in a couple of months.

I'm not planning to go to the project for the next two weeks. This week they are too busy to have English classes so I'm going to work on some other projects here in Phnom Penh. Next week we are moving houses (I stay in the same house as the country director, although I have my own entrance) so I'm sticking around to help with that.

I've enjoyed getting to chat with some of you online from time to time. I'll actually be online a bit more than usual over the next two weeks while I'm here in Phnom Penh.

Anyway, that's pretty much all that's been going on with me here in Cambodia!

Until next time,


Posted by andrew on July 8, 2002