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April 8, 2013

Farewell to Cambodia

Just minutes ago, 10 Cambodia SSTers left for Goshen after a final group meal and a full group photo. Eight SSTers stayed behind for an overnight at a guesthouse and then some free-range traveling in Thailand, beginning tomorrow morning. Cambodia SSTers all returned to Phnom Penh Friday, joining Nate and Brett, whose service assignments were here in the capital, and also Kate, who had returned early with her Ratanakiri family for a wedding in nearby Takeo. All arrived in good shape and positive spirits, ready to return to their city families but already missing their hosts in the countryside. Since…

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April 2, 2013

Brett and Nate in Phnom Penh

Nate and Brett’s service assignment kept them right at home in Phnom Penh, living with their host families from the “Study” portion of SST and working with a “Get-Out-the-Vote” campaign. Cambodia’s national elections are slated for July 28. Prime Minister Hun Sen, 61, said he believes the ruling Cambodian Peoples Party will again secure two-thirds of the parliamentary seats in the forthcoming election. Mr. Sen, who has been in power for 28 years (since shortly after he left the Khmer Rouge, where he had been a leader, to return with the conquering Vietnamese in 1979), has vowed to remain in…

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March 29, 2013

Maryn and Carina in Sbov

This week the Graber Millers visited Carina and Maryn in Sbov, a Khmer Muslim village a few minutes from Kep on the southern coast. Given the beauty of the area, the Graber Millers stayed a couple of extra days in the coastal town of Kep for a mini family vacation. Carina and Maryn also enjoy the natural landscapes of Kep. Hills that are part of Kep National Park rise up from the Gulf of Thailand and provide challenging walking trails suitable for birding, animal-watching, and vista-viewing. Nearly every day Maryn and Carina ride to a nearby guesthouse, park their bikes,…

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March 22, 2013

Jake and Sara K in Siem Reap Province

Jake and Sara K live in two quite rural villages outside of Siem Reap, about a half hour from each other and at least a 45-minute bike ride from the city. Both have made their villages home, making connections with family and friends and finding meaningful work/accompaniment. Sara lives in Krabei Riel and commutes into Siem Reap, usually by bike, for her work at IDE, a world leader in practical, market-based solutions to rural poverty. Mike Roberts — husband of Sreyhem Roberts, who was our SST family assistant in 2007 and 2010 — is the overall director of IDE Cambodia,…

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March 22, 2013

Kampong Phluckers: Audrey and Joel

  Audrey and Joel are in Kampong Phluck (spelled and pronounced in a variety of ways), the remote, stilted village along the Tonle Sap Lake. The entire SST group visited the village when we were in Siem Reap back in early February (see the entry on Kampong Phluck there for more overview photos). Joel and Audrey live just down from the village’s wat in homes on 20-foot stilts located just across the dusty street from each other. Since this is nearing the end of the dry season (the rainy season begins in May), most of Kampong Phluck’s stilts are exposed…

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March 17, 2013

Renae and Henry in Svay Klang

Renae and Henry are living in Svay Klang in Kampong Cham Province, about a 5 1/2 hour van ride away from Phnom Penh. Their home is situated right on the Mekong River, though the riverbed directly in front of their home is dry at this time of the year (the hot and dry season), and community members grow crops on the land while they have a chance. Svay Klang is a largely Muslim community in a Cambodian Province that is 50 percent Muslim, descendants of the Cham people who once occupied much of what is now Vietnam. Our local assistant,…

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March 14, 2013

The Ratanakiri Five

Living with Tampoun families in Ratanakiri Province — 12 hours by bus from Phnom Penh — is going swimmingly, in both figurative and literal ways. The five students placed there — Madeleine, Kate, Corey, Sarah T, and Seth — are having positive experiences living with their indigenous families and teaching English, and they also usually have a bit of time each afternoon to swim at the Volcanic Crater Lake that is part of the Yeak Lom Tampoun community. Five Tampoun communities are part of the Yeak Lom Tampoun tribal group, and one student lives in each village. As you can…

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March 8, 2013

This is the third of three posts we’re putting up this evening, so please be sure to read about Jessie’s experience in Tang Khiev and Lauren and Jacob M’s service in Ba Phnom. The Graber Millers have enjoyed a more relaxed pace of life in Phnom Penh over the last two weeks. They’ve been out for two service visits thus far, and are planning a major trip to Ratanakiri Sunday, where they will see Kate, Madeleine, Sarah T, Corey, and Seth. This week they’ve also had many opportunities to chat with SST Director Tom Meyers, who is visiting from back…

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March 8, 2013

Jessie in Tang Khiev

This is the second of three posts we are putting up tonight — the first on Jacob M and Lauren in Ba Phnom, this one on Jessie’s accompaniment assignment, and a third on the Graber Millers’ lives in Phnom Penh. On Wednesday visiting SST Director Tom Meyers as well as Keith and Ann went to visit Jessie in Tang Khiev, adjacent to Preah Reachatrab (Oudong) Mountain in Kandal Province. The trip to Jessie’s village is about a two-hour tuk-tuk ride from the southern part of the city, where the Graber Millers live. Tang Khiev is a relocation site established in…

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March 8, 2013

Jacob and Lauren in Ba Phnom

In the next 24 hours we’ll post several new blogs, so please take a look at the additional ones on Jessie in Oudong and the Graber Millers in Phnom Penh. Lauren and Jacob M are thriving in Ba Phnom, in Prey Veang Province east of Phnom Penh. Jacob is the first Cambodia SSTer ever to live at a Buddhist wat, making his home among the 15 to 20 monks who live on the temple grounds. Jacob has his own room apart from the monks’ quarters, but he has breakfast and lunch at the wat and uses the monks’ dump shower….

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