Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Update from Battambang

(This banner is for us, kind of. It was on the front of our hotel in Phnom Penh. I think they make banners for anything and everything and there were a couple of teachers here for the conference, but most of us were there for the other program)

The internet access is not as good in Battambang as Phnom Penh so I'm limited in what I can do.
Here is a quick update.

After spending a few days in Phnom Penh relaxing and doing touristy things. We met up with the rest of the team and travelled to Battambang yesterday.When we arrived we met our interpreters. I have a man called Sinourn ( not sure if that is the correct spelling). He teaches English at the teachers college, but don't let give you a false senseof  how good his English is. Last night we had dinner with the inteprereters and some other staff members from the college.

I dídn't sleep very well last night because I was anxious about the workshops, but I'm feeling much better now that I have one under my belt. We had an early breakfast and arrived at the college by 7.15 am ( The workshops run from 7.30-11.30). There was an official opening ceremony where the 300 participants were there, staff from the school and the representative from the government. Most of the speeches were in Khmer so I'm not sure what it was all about.

(The opening ceremony)

The first workshop went o.k I think. I have 20 in my group. All of the teachers teach in a high school and most of them teach Khmer literature. I have a mix of ages from a first year out to a lady that has been teaching since the year I was born. They relaxed and got involved pretty quickly which was good. I've had to scrap the word literacy, because they don't have a word that matches what we mean by literacy. For them its just reading and writing. I asked them for feedback about the types of things thath they wanted to learn and even though they don't use the same terminology, the things that they were asking for are down the same line as things that I was thinking of and had planned. So that has made me feel a lot better. Working with a translator is a challenge but we're getting used to working together, I just have to remind myself to slow down and talk in short chunks. There are 2 other people in the group who also have o.k English which is a help. I'm practising my Khmer on them and I think it has won them over, they think that I'm a great joke lol.

All in all, I'm happy about how it went and feeling much better about the rest of the program. Tomorrow is a public holiday so there are no workshops. We go back on Friday and Saturday. I think we will get some sight seeing down in the afternoons, but I think today might just be a day of rest. We're pretty worn out.


  1. Half the time I don't know what literacy is either but I can cope with reading and writing too. ;-)

  2. Sounds like you're going great guns Em. Well done!

  3. em sounds like you are doing great! thanks for keeping us updated :)

  4. HOORAY -- you're there safely! I hope the rest of getting settled goes well. Gender & international development has been such a big part of my work and research (at least until Katrina) and I'm thrilled to see you thinking and doing... can't wait to see/read more!