First Week in Cambodia

Today marks the end of my third day in Cambodia. Already I am learning so much about myself, my interests, and of the culture and people of Cambodia. This is a truly amazing country of which I hope to learn so much from during my two month stay. This week is leadership training and preparation while next week is the start of my internship with the Cambodia Reproductive and Child Health Resource Center. Another intern, Julia, and I will be traveling to the Kol Kong providence of Cambodia to write a report evaluating the efficiency of health programs and policy in the region. We will also be involved in more smaller projects with the organization. Julia is studying public health at John Hopkins and has lots of international experience so I hope to learn alot from her as well.

I am interning as part of the One World Foundation, an organization that provides international development field experience for minorities. The Foundation sends participants to three countries (Senegal, Cambodia, and Uganda) to intern at various public health, international development, and human right NGOs.

The program began with an orientation in D.C. Although the orientation was short ( 1 hr, 30 min to be exact) it was a great chance to meet and saw farewell to the participants going to Uganda and Senegal. It was also a great time to go site seeing and see the White House!!! The trip to Cambodia was about 24 hr long but as a group of 6 we made the most out of it.

The moment we arrived to Cambodia the heat slapped us in the face. It is really hot!! But luckily our host was there and we rode on tuk tuks (carriages but with a guy on a moto instead of a horse) to out new home. We are living at the Bridges Across Borders Cambodian office which also serves as a guest house for international volunteers. Our place is very nice with AC, TV, DVD player, nice beds, kitchens, etc. The other groups had to stay at homestays!!

As mentioned earlier, this first week is leadership training in human right advocacy. This is only the second day of our training. Yesterday we discussed our roles and expectations for this trip and our internships. Today we focused on understanding human rights as defined by the UN as well as our role in promoting these values. This topic was very interesting to me and is a topic I plan on pursing more in dept later on. Today we got to explore Phnom Penh a bit more as well traveled to one of the NGOs that two of the participants will be working at. Overall I would say the Phnom Penh has alot to offer and I hope to inform people when I return back to the states the beauty and potential of this amazing country.