A Tuesday Tradition

15 02 2012

In keeping with the theme of our last post (food!), I wanted to write about a special meal that has become a tradition for me and Tim since we’ve arrived in Kampong Kdey.

Tuesdays are usually very long days for us. For some reason, they seem longer, hotter and busier than the other six days of the week. And although we generally feel like crashing by four o’clock, our day always holds much more for us. After the school/work day is through, Tim and I sit down to lesson plan together because on Tuesday nights we teach English to a group of NGO workers at their office. After that, one of the staff members then reciprocates the favor by teaching us Khmer. While we wholeheartedly appreciate this, do you know how tiring it is to begin a Khmer lesson at 6:30pm, after an already long day? To most of you back home that probably doesn’t sound too bad; however, in a village that is usually in for the night before dark falls, it makes for a long day. By the end of the lesson, we are usually exhausted!

But, wait! What comes next? Every Tuesday, the NGO staff hosts us for dinner. Tim doesn’t have to cook.  I don’t have to do dishes. We just sit down after class and share a meal with some of the friendliest people in our community. It is a relaxing, and much appreciated, reprieve from our long day.

I remember during pre-service training we had a session on integration. The session leader was asking a panel of volunteers who “their people” were at site. One Volunteer replied that “his people” are the bank employees that he lives with. Another said she spends her time with the ladies at the market. One said that “her people” were the midwives in the health center where she works. For us, “our people” are the NGO and microfinance employees in our town. They have warmly welcomed us into the community and have taught us so much already.

Even though I’m completely tuckered out by the end of  the day on Tuesdays, our weekly dinners together are always a highlight of my week.

The weekly gathering

Katie

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