It's always a treat to be back in Cambodia - I worked with Cambodian refugees in Thailand in the 1980s and learned to speak, read and write the language fairly fluently. I lived in Cambodia itself in the early 1990s with CORD (http://www.cord.org.uk/) and visited frequently when I was Tearfund's southeast Asia Desk officer, until we adopted Hannah in the Year 2000. It had been 14 years since I spoke any Khmer but I'm pleased to say it's all coming back to me now that I have undertaken 3 trips here with the Global Midwifery Twinning Project. I have a network of friends and contacts here that has been invaluable. The programme here had a slow start and we have managed to pull it round thanks to some sound in-country advice and support.
I am here to undertake some mid-term evaluation activities and join the Cambodian Midwives Association in a regional workshop in Prey Veng Province. They chose the location as it's a very poor province and has a low density of CMA members. Co-incidentally it is where I worked in the 1990s so I am able to stay with my friend Barb, a midwife from the UK who has lived here for over 20 years. I will travel down to Prey Veng tomorrow (Sunday) on the Public Bus which will doubtless be a warm, dusty and bumpy ride but will enable me to see the countryside close up and observe the changes since the 1990s. I have my traditional Khmer outfit to wear for the conference (Jacque and I had them made when we were here in July) and have packed my mini suitcase with Duchy Originals biscuits and home-made jam, treats for those who live far away from Western Supermarkets!
I had a restful day today - I needed it having worked flat out for 10 days in Nepal with no break. I did have three meetings but they were all quite relaxed and took place over pots of tea or lovely meals. In between times I found time to have a pedicure ($5 for a full-hour!) so I now have coral toes in time for the workshop!
|The art of report-writing whilst having a pedicure|
|With Kath Hinchcliff|
|Who needs a car when you can buy a tuk tuk? Much more fun!|