After more than two weeks of lying in bed nearly all day due to dengue, Tim and I were back at it this week. We’ve got a lot of small updates, none of which seemed to warrant their own post, but collectively seem worth sharing now.
First of all, not too long ago the Acting Director of Peace Corps – the person who manages the program across 68 countries – came to visit Cambodia. Tim and I got to meet her on a sunset cruise in Phnom Penh, which was a wonderful time. We even found out that she briefly attended Central Michigan, which is where Tim and I met. The morning following the cruise, another volunteer and I were invited to take her and her staff shopping for souvenirs. It was such a great opportunity to get to meet such inspiring and down to earth women – not to mention that marveling at beautiful clothes and jewelry is always a good way to spend a Sunday morning.
Shortly after the staff from DC got on a plane to head to their next stop, the former king of Cambodia, who passed away in October, was cremated. There was a procession in Phnom Penh that was attended by tens of thousands of people. The flags were at half-staff, many Cambodians wore black ribbons, and there was a 2-day holiday marking the occasion. Luckily for us, the holidays created a four day weekend that gave us some extra time to rest up before diving back into work.
It was quite a transition too since this week was a busy one. After having Monday off, I helped facilitate a 4-day training session for PD Hearth. Since the project results in the first two villages were promising and I still had money in my budget, I decided to involve two more villages. So another PCV, who did the majority of the training, and I spent four days teaching about childhood nutrition, how to properly determine the nutritional status of a child, how to support mothers with malnourished children, and how to make a healthy weaning porridge. During the training, we spent two mornings in the villages doing field work. On the first trip, we weighed more than 150 children under the age of five. On the second, we interviewed eight families who have limited resources but whose children are still healthy and at an appropriate weight. All in all, the training was a big success. The volunteers for the project are enthusiastic, willing to learn, and happy to help. I’m really excited to start the feeding sessions in these villages next week.
In addition to the PD Hearth training, I was also busy this week with my regular classes and planning for my upcoming domestic violence project. A huge thank you to everyone who has donated so far. For those who haven’t, please go here and consider contributing. I still need about $750 to make this project a reality. If it doesn’t get fully funded in the next few weeks, I’m not sure if I’ll have time to carry it out…
…and that’s because we have less than five more months in Cambodia! We recently found out that our last day as PCVs will be July 5th. Knowing that we don’t have much more time here definitely has me feeling extra motivated to make the most of this experience. It will be over faster than we realize.