Mr. Cambodia

December 17, 2008 at 9:10 pm 3 comments

A week ago i wrote about the unpleasant experience of going to the American embassy to have more pages sown into my passport.

I decided to try again on Monday, since i was going to be in proximity of the embassy during the necessary hours. So i came and was quickly ushered into the uncrowded waiting room. At window #7 a young Asian man with perfect English handed me a form to complete. Twenty minutes later i was called to window #9 where the same man returned my passport with the page attachments inside (The new pages are not filled with names of states like the old ones; instead each set of pages contains scenes of farmers, statues, eagles, infrastructure and more in a pink hue and with a quotation about the virtues and struggles of American society that correlate to the scenes. Despite the effect of propaganda, i like them a lot) The man gave me his business card.  It didn’t take long to realize that this was the same rude individual i’d spoken to the week before. He even confirmed it by recalling some of the words i said to him.

Later, he told me some interesting things about his work. One of his duties is to be there as soon as an American citizen dies, is arrested, or suffers an emergency.

“How many Americans are in jail in Phnom Penh?”
“About 10.”
“For what?” (And here, i expected the usual answer – smuggling drugs)
“Sex tourism with children!”

Throughout my month in Phnom Penh i have seen various attempts to prevent the sexual exploitation of minors. From the warnings on the back page of the free maps tourists get, to the documents my school required us to sign to confirm our awareness of the problem, to the swimming pool i went to this morning that had this on its door: “Sex tourists not welcome.”

“So how do they get caught?”
“There are organizations that spy on them…”
“But how can they prove that a man knew the age of the girl?”
“They talk to the parents of the girl and when they mention that they recieved money…”




Teaching is a pleasure for me. I’ve been having headaches daily since Thursday but as soon as i enter the classroom and take on the role of teacher my head stops aching and i feel rejuvinated and happy.

Today i played a game with one of my classes. I created a paragraph with some missing words. The students’ job was to fill in the blanks using a vocabulary list of words i provided (words we have been studying). After they finished, the students took turns reading the sentences until everyone had the correct words in the blanks. Then i collected the papers and placed them outside the classroom. I made three teams and gave each a marker. One student ran out of the room to look at the sheet and memorize a sentence which he than recited to the student with the marker, who than wrote the sentence on the team’s section of the board. As he did this another student ran out of the room to memorize the next sentence. Markers exchanged hands. There was a lot of running and enthuisiasm. They broke the rules by running out of the room to look at the papers indiscriminately. Some of the girls threw off their flip-flops and ran barefoot. There was giggling. One of the older male students, a little fat, awkward, and dressed in professional attire, held his hand to his mouth to cover the emerging giggle as he ran…

The point of this game is to teach students to listen and communicate. After they finished, i counted the mistakes each team had made and subtracted points. The teams were very enthuisiastic about finding the mistakes of the other teams. Nonetheless all 3 had almost the same score.

So much fun!


Entry filed under: travel. Tags: , , , , .

Teaching 2 teaching difficulties

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. dana  |  December 18, 2008 at 1:23 am

    this is all very interesting and fun to read ..thx for the updates .. see u soon ?-d

  • 2. dina  |  December 19, 2008 at 12:51 am

    Yes, very interesting. And I am glad you have fun.

  • 3. Yelena Shuster  |  December 20, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Dana and mom! Thanks for reading & commenting =)


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