Last week was my three month mark in Cambodia. I still have another three months to go but I know my time here will come to an end pretty quickly. There are still so many more things to experience and to look forward to in the remaining months, I feel like I am running out of time.
Work has been extremely busy for the past few weeks and there is still so much to do before my contract finishes. I also have a few trips coming up and am looking forward to getting some new stamps in my passport. Next week, I head to Myanmar and then to Vancouver for TED Active (I'm counting down the days because I get to see Asghar there!) In April, I am heading to Laos and and then Vietnam in May.
My French class is coming to an end this week. It was such an enjoyable class and I really liked interacting with my Khmer teacher and classmates. I hope I can keep up with what I have learned on Duolingo because I really love the language. I have also started to exchange emails with some friends in French as a way to practice. Shoot me one if you are interested as well!
Aside from French, I have been enrolled in an International Health and Human’s Rights class at Stanford for the past six weeks. This online course is free of charge and can be taken for a statement of accomplishment or just for fun. I am taking it for a statement of accomplishment. Each week seems to be better than the last and I feel my knowledge of women’s issues worldwide has increased significantly.
The course is also extremely depressing. It turns out women all over the world are constantly experiencing human rights violations. Each week, I try to remain optimistic because of the small gains made over the last few decades but it is difficult to do so when I think about how much there is still left to do. So far, we have covered: human rights, education, female genital mutilation, HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, violence against women and women in war and refugee settings. This class keeps me pretty busy. I have four papers to write, two group meetings to discuss, weekly readings and short write-ups on the readings and weekly quizzes. The course finishes on April 1.
In other news, my new roommate moved in today. Her name is Soum and she is from France. She works with the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, otherwise known as the ECCC. I think we will have some interesting conversations about her work. I hope I get to attend one of the hearings while I am here!
I'd like to leave you with an interesting conversation I had at lunch last week. A colleague and I were in a pretty western neighborhood when a Filipino missionary approached us. She didn't want to talk about God. She just wanted our money, she placed two envelopes on the table and asked us to donate to God. I told her I am not interested and she proceeded to say, "how can you not care about God?'' I answered by saying it is each individual's choice and I rather not discuss it with her while I am having lunch. She got extremely upset and picked up her envelopes and then said, "You should donate money to God or else you will go to hell like all the Americans!'' I could not stop laughing and wanted to tell her that I was an American but she left pretty quickly. It still amazes me how many people in this world continue to think that every country is homogeneous. I know better than to assume where a person could be from just because of how they look. I am surprised others do not.