16 September 2009

forever heart stay you always. destiny!

to celebrate daniel's (& our good friend steve's) birthday, we hosted a 'bad english t-shirt party'. below is some of the hilarity.

[free style written boy hip hop & someone make me a cherry berry record mix tape]

[hunnies play me close like butter play toast]

[the dirty live long but die haro. save blue]

[obama for president of space]

[your very the highest. we are fighting on the brink whether it always dead or alive. real clothes from log.a careful selection matena is used and it's made with sewing technology.]

[losers always lose...always]

[blackfish rock tubelor money punk winshester]

[g-star raw denim 3801 south east distr]

10 September 2009


a few weeks ago i (amanda) travelled to kompong cham province with a small organization i work with here called women peacemakers.

the organization provides training in rural cambodia about women's right, domestic violence issues, peacebuilding & conflict mediation skills. cambodia has only recently emerged from decades of brutal & traumatizing civil war so education about peaceful alternatives to mediating conflict are so vital to the country's development.

the work of women peacemakers is inspiring. we traveled five hours by bus from phnom penh to a regional town with a guesthouse & a market.

[can you spot the pig head?]

& early every morning we drove an hour & a half

through miles & miles of rice fields

until we reached the primiary school in the isolated community where the training was held.

the two young women who led the workshop are strong & articulate & i was so impressed with their dedication to their work.

the workshop participants were gentle & kind & tried very patiently to understand my heavily accented khmer.

however, the entire time i attended the training i was an utter spectacle.

[kids gathering to peek in at me during the training]

with my limited khmer, i was able to pick up that the participants were constantly narrating my actions to each other. "she is sitting down". "she is eating fruit". "she is writing with her left hand". & then discussions about my appearance. "her skin is so white". "her shirt is not khmer style" "she looks like angelina" (who people like here because she adopted a cambodian child, somehow skirting the US ban on adoptions from cambodia due to child trafficking issues) .

it was endearing & unnerving all at the same time & provides a lot of food for thought on the arbitrary nature of cultural standards of power & beauty. behind the admiration, do the older participants ever think about my country's devastating bombings of their land & their people? or do they only see the media's idealization of all things western & young?

& the children.

in phnom penh, the kids i see on my street love to run out & yell "HELLO" when we pass by. the kids in this village just seemed totally stunned by my presence.

[when i came out of the bathroom on the first day, i was greeted with a crowd of stares]

they didn't yell greetings, because i think they had actually just never seen a foreigner before. (babies cried!)

but their fascination was tender & once they realised i spoke khmer at a child's level, curiosity got the best of them & they followed me around for days.

their bright smiles were the highlight of my trip, but their reality is much darker than i think i can ever really understand. the widespread poverty in their region means that they are very vulnerable to exploitation & abuse.

[please pray for these sweet children]

[it looks oddly hip, but many of the children have blond streaks in their hair because of a nutrient deficiency & malnutrition]

[i posted this little one-shoed guy in my last post, but i haven't been able to get him out of my mind. the villagers told me that his mother had to go to malaysia to get work (a lot of cambodians are migrant workers in malaysia, thailand, and singapore) & so he does not get proper care]

1 September 2009

& it was all yellow

[a collection of photos from various countryside schools]