In case you began to wonder why it seems I am not working that much: (I think Cambodia has more holidays than any other country I know and it is aaaawesome! There is also a kind of NGO-law that the NGO can take a Monday free if the holiday is on a Sunday. I took the informations from this website: https://publicholidays.asia/cambodia/2018-dates/
I can answer the question just for the moment, because it will surely change when I
move to Siem Reap to work in our office there in February.
At the moment I work 3 days a week in our SCC office and support my supervisor with some documents that we are developing for the schools SCC has and try to edit some reports or evaluations and get to learn a lot about the work the NGO does
The schools are for very poor children as an addition to the (not very good) state school. 2 days I weeks I go to such a school in the north of Phnom Penh, the donor that supports this school is Face-to-face.
Not long ago the school has changed its curriculum and now we only teach English with
the focus on Conversation Skills and the kids should have fun learning, that is why we also include Arts and Drama classes in English and try to make it as interactive as possible. I don't teach
English, also because I think I wouldn't feel really comfortable being in the position of a 'teacher' and I love Drama and also been acting a lot in Germany. Teaching Drama is not always easy,
especially because some of the children are still very young and teaching it in a language that is not their mother language is even more challenging.
I really love being in school because the kids are very lovely, many have impressive strong personalities and they are (mostly) very motivated to learn, try to speak to me in English and honestly I think there is no way to not love them.
The school is also supported by volunteers that come from all over the world and teach in the CBE School, over the organization projects abroad. I got the possibility to work for a few weeks with two of them and I really enjoyed it and it is weird for everyone that they are gone now. The kids still talk a lot about them and I guess they won't forget them that easily.
The first month has already past and sometimes I begin to wonder about how it is possible that 1 of 12 months that I spend here has already ended. At first I want to tell you a bit about what I have done until now, during my time here. If you speak German you can also read the longer and maybe more detailed version,"Plötzlich 20".
In our first week here we spent every day with our country Mentor, talking about the political situation, do's and don'ts, Khmer dances, food and more. In week two we started Khmer class. We learn Khmer (pronounced kmai) during the week every day two and a half hours in the morning. Us five German volunteers are split up into 2 groups. We have already learned how to count, the colors, fruits and vegetables, how to buy things at the market and a lot more. I really enjoy the classes even though they are quite exhausting sometimes. In the afternoon I go to my working place, the NGO Salvation Centre Cambodia and until now I read a lot, got to know my colleagues and SCC in general, and read reports. I do my best to edit them a little, but I think my English skills are overestimated a lot. I also have done other little tasks yet and I am asked a lot about my opinion, what I really like. I enjoy staying in my office because I learn a lot and everyday happens something new and interesting.
I live together with 4 other volunteers from the organization Bread for the world in an apartment; with one of them I share a room and a double bed. We get along very well but obviously there are still moments when we have very different opinions, or are just annoyed because we're not used to live that close with persons we barely know 2 months, with very little personal space and until now we nearly spend all the time together (except when we are working). Although it is challenging sometimes I wouldn't like to change it at all, because also with them I can learn a lot and they are for me like a family now, not only like flat mates.
A few days ago we drove together to a city in the south of Cambodia (Sihanoukville) and stayed there for the weekend. The beach was incredible with white sand, the water was warm and it wasn't that crowded. We also made a tour visiting 3 little islands and snorkeled there, stayed at the beach and swim in the beautiful water.
For all those who don't know me and want to get to know a little bit about me, these are the facts:
My name is Anna, I am 18 years old, I recently graduated from highschool and I live near Frankfurt in Germany. I have a younger sister and I live together with her and my parents in a house with a garden.
The next year I will be living in Cambodia and do a so called "developmental voluntary service". The German government supports young people volunteering, so they pay 75% of all the costs that occur through the flight, the living, the workshops and a lot more and the rest is paid by the organization I go abroad with and by people donating money to the organization to support what I am doing.
I know that I can't save the world (even though that would be what I'd like to do in many of my dreams). I don't go to Cambodia to teach them about how we do things and live in the "role model Germany", because all of this would be stupid. I go to Cambodia to learn and the other volunteers do it because of the same reason, which is also the idea of 'bread for the world' and why they send us out to Cameroon, Zambia, Costa Rica, Georgia and Cambodia.
I want to learn more. I want to learn about the world, about development policy, about other cultures, about how we all are the same, without considering that we live in completely different situations, I want to learn more about me and how one day maybe I can make the world a little bit better and how every person can do this.
And this is also my motivation for going abroad. I want to broaden my mind and learn, but also want to inspire other people, get inspired and contribute international understanding and peace.
It would be great if Cambodians can also learn something from me, as I can learn something from them and the children also.
I started writing a blog to share my experiences and thoughts with my family, friends, people I know and everybody interested. The main part will be in German because as it is my native language I feel most confident writing in and also because most of the people reading my posts will be German-speaking, but I don't want to miss the opportunity to also make it possible for more persons to read this, especialmente para mis chilenos queridos and for the big AFS-family and also for Khmer people I will hopefully get to know soon.
Please feel free to write for critic, questions, compliments or whatever you want.
For me it is a lot more difficult to write the English parts than the Germans, because I can assess way better who will read the German texts, but the English ones I write for people from very different backgrounds and with different ages, in different countries and even continents.
I hope that through the blog you don`t only get a chance to get to know more about my view of Cambodia but also a little bit more about me and Germany.
But there we also got to a very important point for me. We tend to generalize a lot, as I do too. But everything (or most) of what I write here is based on my personal experiences, views and opinions. They are very subjective and influenced by my family, friends, background, experiences I have made, education and many more. I am not a professional writer and it can happen that I write things down here that are wrong or that are only from my perspective. I am already sorry for that and try to control it, so it won't happen so often anymore. If something bothers you, please feel free to send me a message.
If you want to learn more abour the organization you can look it up here.
I already arrived to Cambodia on the 7th of August, but the english entries all will be a bit delayed, I hope you don't mind! :-)