This website reflects my own personal views and not that of the U.S. Government nor, more specifically, the Peace Corps.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Where My '93 Camry Went

So, I was hanging out in Kampong Cham Town, and everywhere I look are 1990's models of Toyota Camrys. Who'd have thought that that's where my car went. I figured it got dismantled and sold for parts in Tucson.

Anyhow, I've been in the village/commune of Chop in Taboung Kamoun (sp?) District in Kampong Cham Province. My village is pretty much what you might dream of when thinking of Cambodia. I often ride through forests of rubber trees on dirt roads on my PC issued bicycle. There's a small market where I go for breakfast everymorning and pay about 4000 CR which equals about $0.94. That's a full soup with chinese noodles, beef and veggies AND an amazing iced coffee with condensed milk. The food is absolutely amazing here. I know I miss food back home, but I think it will take a month or so for the novelty to wear off. Now, you may be thinking, "Wow! Garrett, your life is great. How's the weather?" It's fucking hot. Yup. I sweat almost constantly, but I'm okay with that, because I like where I am.

My Day:

I wake up at 4:30a to the sound of dogs, roosters, and birds in my rafters. I get back to sleep for maybe an hour, take a cold bucket shower, visit the squatty potty, then head of to breakfast around 7a. From 730-1130 is language. Then, lunch with the family. From 1-5 is technical training. The TEFL guys have visited a classroom and made lesson plans, and us Health volunteers are visiting health centers, referral hospitals and the like, discussing the Khmer Rouge and the effects it had on the health care system (and the educational system took its toll as well). 5-7p dinner and attempting to speak with my family in Khmer. At the beginning of the day, I think, "Wow! Garrett, you've learned so much," and then at dinner I think, "Damn...you not nothing!" So, it's going to take awhile but progress exists, and you can feel it throughout the other Trainees. We're all in Kampong Cham tonight and then visiting a Peace Corps Volunteer in their permanent site to give us an idea of what life is like outside of KC. I'm personally going to Sva-Rieng(sp?) which I'm very excited about. I've spoken to about 4 PCVs already, and they make it out to be their little slice of heaven...or Cambodia, rather. So, that's where I'm off to tomorrow through Sunday.

As to the other volunteers, I met this great guy, James, who oddly enough graduated from the U of A with me (almost). I was SURE I was the only one, but I guess not. He definitely works the transition lenses. It's a good thing, James. I like it.

So, here I am, with Travis, sitting in "Smileys" yup...smileys, rushing to write our blogs before they kick us out; they closed 36 minutes ago. Tomorrow is an exciting day, as we have no obligations except to have a good time. It's really exhausting, this training. I study the Khmer language for about an hour before I completely conk out around 8:30p or 9:00p. Isn't that crazy... I go to bed before 9... Anyhow, I miss all of you, and I hope life is treating you well. I head to the big town tomorrow, so hopefully I'll be able to mail out my letters. I think I wrote about 8, but then again, those are the only addresses I have, so if you want me to write you and you haven't given me your address, then write me!

Anyhow, I love and miss you all, and hopefully I'll have more pictures up on here soon. I'll try taking more, and then send them to my parents, because loading anything here takes FOR-EV-ER! So, maybe in a month...yeah, I know. Sorry.

Okay, that's it. Off to the rural wilderness of Kampuchea tomorrow.

oh one quick point:


-you might often see pigs or chickens running around these opened-door facilities. visiting rights, well, you can always visit, because privacy isn't as much of an issue here than in the States, and the birthing room looks like something that well, you'd just have to see it yourself. It's not bad; it's just different. That's a perspective a friend taught me that is doing me well here, and if you are reading this, your charm is on my phone. It (the hospital) works here, and clearly it isn't the facilities that's the issue, it's the basic knowledge that one simply needs to seek care to stay well, and there are services that are available for almost everything and for very cheap. It's really quite amazing what the hospitals here can offer patients. This will definitely be a long road to travel down. I found out that I will most likely be working at the Health Clinics from 7:30a-11:30a, and the rest of my time will be working with my co-partner to slowly gain the confidence and friendship of the people around me and explain the benefits of things like washing your hands, putting guppies in your cisterns or simply going to get HIV tested at the local health clinic. Many vaccinations for children here are free, but not many seem to know that. The problem is, many people here simply don't know why they should get vaccinated. What are the benefits? Is it even a thought? I've been getting a lot of psychology "training" here, and it's going to be a long haul. However, I think all of the Health Volunteers (Trainees) are very ready to do what's needed.

Sorry if I sound too optimistic. That's all. I love you and goodnight, because it's night here.

A'ron sus'sadei!,


  1. Sounds like you've got a lot of work ahead of you, but you'll make it! That's crazy about James graduating from UA too. Just goes to show what a small world it really is. Miss you tons!!

  2. I'm glad you are so optimistic! If you weren't, then you should probably be worried.

    This is amazing! :)

  3. Thanks, Becky! Yeah, it really is (a small world), and there really is (a lot of work ahead of me).