The adventures of Jo!

Merry christmas!
December 23, 2006, 10:29 am
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Dear people,

THe last weeks I had an overdosis christmas but for the moment I am still enjoying it (because it is not christmas yet!)

We didnt had a lot of english classes and if we had it was not our normal class or with more students… so they were strange weeks but fun.

last weekend our girls had to sell at two markets. so the week before: a lot of baking! saturday they sold cookies, cakes,… at the international church. oooo so good that these things were. njammieeeeeeeeeee. on sunday there was a christmas bazaar in the other don bosco centre were they sold a lot of food.

This week was all the time preparing for yesterday… so yesterday… in the morning they were free, a lot of playing, dancing, music… super! in the afternoon we had the christmas play. I was first christmas tree in the dance rocking around the christmas tree.. and than one of the three kings. oh it was very nice…. in the evening we went again to the other centre for the Khmer Christmas Carol (based on Dickens). nicenice! today we had party with the staff and the teachers. here i participated in the fashion show… and we had food and a lot of ice cream!

and the real celebrations still have to come!!!

 but although busy and tiring days (this morning they woke the girls up with loud christmas music.. at 5.30!!! auw) it was nice… and all the people were so happy and it was a lot of fun. I really  love these people…

 anyway, I am putting some pictures online from all these activities! go and have a look! also have a look at this website: 

oh yeah, and have a nice christmas!




To believe or not to believe!
December 11, 2006, 2:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

One of the things a lot of you are maybe wondering is how it is to live with sisters so I will try to write a bit about it!First of all, I don’t see the sisters as much as in the beginning. This is because we are eating in a separate room with the volunteer which is really nice. We see the sisters in the morning at breakfast, and sometimes during the day, but not so much… and ofcourse we see them if we have to ask something.Most of the sisters are really nice and work really hard and care about the students. They are very active in education and like to work with young people, it is typical for salesian sisters.In
Belgium I spend already a weekend with Salesian sisters which was really nice and even a surprise for me because they were more “progressive”than I thought. Here, in
Cambodia, they are a bit more conservative and they are more strict, more rules…. It is normal I think, it is a bit like in
Belgium so many years ago.
One of the consequences by living here, is that you also start thinking about your belief. I don`t go praying with the sisters, I don`t go to mass every day and all those things, but you see them doing it. And they ask if you go to mass every Sunday, wich I absolutely don`t do in
belgium. It makes you think  Am I catholic? Or what else am i? Do I believe in something?

For the moment I have to dissapoint you that I don’t really find the answer yet. I know that a popular answer these days in
Europe is “I don’t believe in church, but I believe in something
But then it stops. Nobody can explain what something is. Anyway, I discovered about myself that going to mass does nothing to me. I don’t feel it is important for me, I don’t get touched by what they are saying (maybe it is because they speak in Khmer but anyway…).. What I do like is the singing in mass, because than there is this athmosphere.. the vibes of people who believe and who sing… it is nice. But I also felt these kind of vibes in other places (for example at a boedhist temple).Saying prayers with words they give us, say nothing to me. I even get more and more annoyed by it because you always have to say you are a sinner and I don’t like the word sin. It sounds so wrong. I don’t know. I don’t believe that God made the world in seven days. I don’t believe in god in the way there is a guy looking at us and changing our life and at the end judge us. I don’t believe in things the Church say or the pope. I also have difficulties understanding what the sisters sometimes mean with things, why they talk like this or that, or why they really think they are for example married with Jesus. For me this is difficult.I have respect for it, and I observe it with a lot of interest, but I will never really understand. But saying in what you not believe is easy no? Believing is a difficult thing. Because believing is not knowing if it is really true. If I look at myself, I know I do something that people say it is praying. Who doesn’t say sometimes Thank you God! Or Please help me God! God is a difficult and complex something. Maybe for me it is more the world, “powers of the world”, people, coincidence, or not coincidence, … If I look at something really beautiful, or enjoy the rain on my skin, or the sun, or there is someone really nice who does something nice for me, or a little kid that smiles or whatever you can think of, and you feel suddenly this feeling of a moment of true happiness and you think wow this is beautiful. Then you thank “god”. For me sitting inside a chapel and saying “thank you god”doesn’t feel right. Enjoying the world is thanking. If I would bake biscuits for you, and you would go in another room saying half an hour thank you JO for these wonderful biscuits without eating them, I don’t know if I would like it. But if you would enjoy eating them and I see that you really enjoy and like it, I would feel pretty proud that I had baked the biscuits.Maybe it is a stupid comparisation. But anyway.another kind of praying –asking help- is something that a lot of people do I think, even if they don’t believe in god and they don’t say god in their asking. If there is something, something difficult or whatever, there is still hope. And you hope something will help you. And expressing that hope, is this kind of prayer I think. I don’t really think it will help. I don’t think we will solve a lot of problems by it, because otherwise the world would be now already without suffering and diseases and war because a lot of people pray for that no? But it gives people strenght and hope, so it doesn’t hurt anyone. And maybe if you get more strenght or a positive view, maybe it will help you solve the problem. I also want to live by certain values. And a lot of them are the Christian values. solidarity….but I think a lot of them you can also find in other religions.I also want to believe that people are good (this is maybe why I joined Join Me! See links!) and that other people will live with the same values one day even if they don`t do it now. This is something I want to believe in, although maybe I know it is not realistic, I don’t know… This is something I hope and I can only work on it by doing it by myself. I also realised that even though I say I don’t really believe in church, church has somewhere a kind of place in my life. It is funny, probably it is because education, culture, tradition… in
Belgium. But I like Christmas, Easter…. And if someone dies/get born/get married/… I still feel like going to church. It is tradition I know. And routine. But why it is bad? If we go to other countries, the first things we want to see is traditions! But in our own country it is bad because than it is something that you do because it is like that and not because you think about it! But I don’t think tradition is bad. And I think there should be something like this, a special place to celebrate some things. I think.
So conclusion I don’t know yet. I don’t feel like a real catholic. Because I don’t believe in so many things that catholics should believe in. but because of my background, for the moment I will not completely feel seperated from the church. And I still believe in some things they say. And most of the sisters are doing a good job.  

I am also reading now about budhism. Also interesting, but also here I don’t believe in everything they say and I don’t think I would ever feel a real budhist.  

So anyway, I don`t really found out yet. What I do feel is that the churchthings are really far from my bed. I noticed it more and more being here. So don’t be afraid that I will be a sister J 

Love,JoPs. To say it in the words of nick cave (;-) ) I don`t believe in an interventionist god… (…) but I believe in love!