The adventures of Jo!

Questions and more thoughts
May 16, 2007, 12:52 pm
Filed under: my life in cambodia

After a weekend sea and beaches and snorkeling at sihanoukville, I am ready for my last three weeks and a half as a volunteer!!

Sometimes I wonder, did I really do my best? Is it everything I can do? Every day I learn more things about Cambodia, about the people, about how things are.

My students tell me more about how the people are afraid of things, of talking against the government, changing things… if we listened to Sunday bloody Sunday, they were so surprised people in europe can sing these things, because here they would get killed, they say.

I am reading this book,
Cambodia now (Coates), and it also answers some of my questions. For example… I always go to copy in the same copy shop. There is a man who I think has an intellectual disability. His body is also covered with red circles. I thought of it before, what can it be… it looks like it was burned one time. I thought of torturing (during khmer rouge maybe). I read a chapter about health. Probably it was not “torturing” but “a medical treatment”. Hot glasses should suck out the bad spirits who make someone sick (or in this case, intellectual disabled). I only see this man, not only with his disability, but also covered with red circles.

I read about projects, working with all kind of possible groups and helping on all kind of areas.

I visit projects. Last week I visited the sisters from Sister Teresa (you know, the famous one 😉 ) They work with children and adults with aids, TB,… I walked around in their little hospital. I admire their work, but I also see a lack of so many things, like every where.I see people alone in their bed. I see a boy with a  disability walking around in wet pants. I see another girl with a disability tight in her bed (for good reasons, that is not the problem… the problem is there are no people who can do things with her). I think about the people with disabilities I know in my country. My degree should be able to make me work with them. But do they really need me? I am wondering then, if I see these people. They get love, they get attention, they go to school, they have people who speak for them, they can speak theirselves, … Here, the only thing they see is their ceiling or the “doctor”who burns them with glasses. I don’t know…  So although I still learn every day, there are also more questions every day.How do the people really think about me, about “us”? My own students, who know me pretty well, surprise me even sometimes with their images of Europeans. ‘Teacher, I thought you never cleaned before in your country!” I want to live in the kind of
Europe they have in mind: nobody has to clean or to work, money just falls out of the sky… I KNOW certain things are much much much easier, but still…
I know they think I have sooo much money because I can be here. And you know what; I also know some people in
Europe think this. Because they think “she can afford working nine months for free”. I am not going to put my energy in making these kinds of discussions. The people who know me know I don’t come from the richest family in Belgium. I only know that the most people around me have more.

What do you have to do with the little children who come to sell things and say “it is not fair you don’t buy from me! You are not nice!” while you are reading that it is better not to give streetchildren, but in stead bring them to shelters, or support the shelters and organisations who work with them because then you really change their style of living, on long term. If you just give them, then they will do this always. But how do you explain to a toddler who just wants to eat NOW? 

 So I am wondering… Who learned from my work here? Maybe I am the person who learned the most! So that is kind of selfish almost! No, I was thinking… ofcourse I didn’t change a lot or my work here meant so much. But that is normal. Because who are we to change another country? The people think so different, they are different,they have to do things different… so I think the only thing we can do, is show how we are, what our knowledge is, give some support… and the rest they have to do theirselves in their own way.

My students are the seeds. I just gave some water. Other people also give water: education, love, hope,... But they also need a good earth to grow in, a good environment to be in. Only
Cambodia can give them this and this is sometimes lacking here. They need schools, support, hospitals, laws, security, rights… They also need some sun, and this is their own power. How they believe they can do things, how they want to work, how they want to change and think they can change… I see the sun in a lot of students here, it is very nice to see, but sometimes it is also shining not so hard. They are afraid. They think it is not possible anyway, so why trying? Or they don’t take initiative. This is not only in the “big”way, also in small things, for example just in class that they sometimes are so passive or don’t try to think. Also some other people I meet on the streets or somewhere else. Maybe I see it wrong. I KNOW they think and act different and they do things in so many different ways and that mine is not the right one. But that doesn’t stop me of sometimes feeling frustrated and having the feeling I want to take them by the shoulders and shake them a little bit (what I do NOT do by the way… I just think sometimes).
  Anyway, a lot of questions and thinking and much more than I write here and much complicated that I write here. It is so funny to read this again, the way I am writing now, it sounds so.. I don’t know how it sounds or should sound. Anyway. So everything is very fine here. I am only red. Stupid sun!But it is also raining every day now. Interesting to see the nature change like this, suddenly more noise (animals), green,...

 It will be weird, these last weeks, but I will enjoy them! JO x


3 Comments so far
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of … hoe ik stil werd.
Mooi geschreven, Jo!
Mijn respect voor jou stijgt nog maar eens.
Je doet de goede dingen
en je doet de dingen goed!

Comment by Liesbeth

Dank je voor deze vragen Jo. Ik weet dat de antwoorden niet gemakkelijk zijn maar het begint met dit soort vragen dat wij in België zo weinig stellen. Als ik blijf voor Vides werken is het hierom, dat jonge mensen bewust in het leven gaan staan en de moeilijke confrontatie aangaan met deze vragen. Misschien met wat zon op hun gezicht als ze geloven dat ze met hun kleine inzet toch ‘verschil kunnen maken’, soms met het duister van de twijfel of dit alles wel zin heeft.
Voor mij als gelovige, kan ik alleen maar zeggen dat ik vertrouw dat wat we doen opgenomen is in een veel groter iets, liefde, Gods liefde.

Neem deze weken echt tijd om afscheid te nemen, dat is belangrijk om in België te kunnen thuis komen

Comment by zr Marina

Holiday repose by Charles Stinson

“The second kitchen needed to mirror the main one in the upstairs area of the house, but I wanted the aesthetic to maintain the vacation-home feel of this section of the property,” said Architect Charles Stinson of the pictured kitchen’s redesigned concept, as successful furniture shop in Cambodia
construction materials informed.
“We wanted to create a feeling of continuity, while establishing that the architecture in this wing is a different manifestation of the existing design. We were aiming to achieve a shared language of composition,” he stated.
“The guest house is very private, with no exposure to traffic and extensive views of the pine forest and the lake beyond. The kitchen design is refined and understated, and does not compete with the natural environment,” added Stinson.
The key feature of the kitchen is the island which maximize the full outdoor view. The dark-stained oak finish of the appliances’ surround and white cabinets are a reminder of the main kitchen’s design.

Comment by chhunmeng.kabkab

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