A week in Cambodia is exhausting and totally thrilling at the same time and I love it.  I love watching life on the streets, riding around in tuk-tuks, spending time with my Khmer friends and every aspect of the work that I do there.  Something about being in Phnom Penh just puts all of my petty little problems in the right perspective.  I was tempted this week to complain about the hard beds at the hotel until I realized that a number of the participants in the training were actually sleeping on the classroom floor as they didn’t have the money to stay in a hotel.

My main reason for being there this week was to assist to provide a couple of days of training to the staff at Cambodia Global Action, one of our partner organizations there.  With  thirty two participants all eager to learn the material and the teaching method, we had some very interesting discussions and lots of fun.  All of the participants were CHE trainers so were very keen to glean new information and just to have a forum where they were free to discuss issues and concerns that are not often talked about in this culture.  CHE lessons are designed for use in oral cultures so are very visual and participatory as each lesson is introduced through a role play or story

After a brief review of some HIV/AIDS materials from earlier training we moved into some great lessons on Addictions, Worldview and Broken Relationships, Choosing Your Friends Wisely, Youth Love and Lies, Discovering the Roots of Despair and Hope, Marital Faithfulness, Consequences of Sex Outside of Marriage, Making a Marriage Work. Translation is always a challenge but thanks to a couple of TWR staff who joined in the training, we were able to manage quite nicely.

Thursday was spent making some more contacts with potential partners in a new program and searching out Khmer resources for our TWR teams and their projects. Yet one more suitcase of vitamins was greatly appreciated by the Children’s outreach mininstry.

I even had the opportunity for a couple of first time experiences like eating cockles, which actually taste OK when served in a cinnamon sauce.  I just had trouble getting the picture of the “cockle carts” out of my head.   The tiny, little birds served with their heads and feet intact actually tasted just like chicken and I was happy to learn they were quails as somehow I was thinking pigeon.  It was quite startling to see how quickly the streets of downtown Phnom Penh can be transformed into rapidly flowing rivers when a monsoon rainfall hits.  I ended up wading back to my hotel in knee deep water with waves that reached thigh level when a vehicle passed by.

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