January 26, 2010

P’teah Goshen Night, Afternoon Lectures

This is the fourth of five catch-up posts after the crash of the GC website two weeks ago. One more yet to come this evening. Our second full week in Cambodia included lectures by David Ketchum of Mennonite Central Committee on Cambodian Families and Women’s Peacemaking, as well as input by Ouk Serei Sopheak on Cambodian Politics and Economics in the Southeast Asian Context. As pictured here, Ketchum had the group engage in a drawing exercise related to direct, structural, and cultural violence, particular as these related to domestic violence in the Cambodia context.Our lecturer on Cambodian Politics, who is sometimes a consultant for the World Bank and United Nations, also has the ear of Prime Minister Hun Sen, even though he often disagrees with him. Hun Sen is leader of the Cambodian People’s Party and national head of what is supposed to be a liberal democracy under a constitutional monarchy. Professor Ouk Serei said Hun Sen recently invited him to respond to a number of government initiatives, and then the prime minister returned his letter with extensive comments in the margins. We’re grateful that a number of high-profile officials and NGO leaders are taking time to meet with the group.

On Saturday, January 17, Keith and Simon and Ann and Mia hosted Men’s and Women’s Nights Out. Ann and Mia took all of the women in the group to Setsara, a Thai restaurant near Independence Monument. Keith and Simon took the men to the Tamarind, a Middle Easter restaurant near the palace.

P’teah Goshen Night January 21 included reflections by Charlie (as noted in the previous entry) and a number of gymnastic antics by various students. We also sang hymns, which resonate in the Graber Miller apartment and out onto the streets from our fourth-floor balcony.

Niles, the oldest Graber Miller son, arrived Tuesday, January 19, and has been enjoying participating with students in lectures and field trips. Pictured here also are Simon and Mia in their hammock, returning from a field trip in a tuk-tuk, and the view of the city from P’teah Goshen at night.

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