Disclaimer: These are my views and do not reflect the views of the Peace Corps.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Curry and Lentil Soup

I had my first week at the teacher trainer center last week. Classes don't actually start until tomorrow, so I spent the week meeting the teachers and staff and trying to get a feel for the place. My primary job description right now is to set up teacher trainer workshops in Battambang, which means that I'll be working with the RTTC to set them up, but not really working at the center. I did however volunteer to take over one of the English clubs that the last PCV was running, which should be fun. We even have a TV and dvd player to work with.

The week before last, I was in Phnom Penh for a curriculum/syllabi/textbook development workshop run by a British consultant who has worked in something like 67 different countries helping them to improve their English teaching, writing textbooks, and all sorts of other stuff. I learned a lot from the conference and was happy that I was familiar with a lot of what he presented from my TESL studies at Cal Poly. We spent three days with the trainer and then the following two with our Cambodian counterparts helping to share with them what we'd learned which also helped reinforce the material for us, especially when we had to get it past some language barriers. Writing the syllabus and book is going to be a ton of work, but if we do it right the books should be in the classroom by next school year. So exciting! I really hope we can pull this off.

After running this morning, I spent the entire day working on the syllabus for grade 7 and my brain is fried.

One thing that's been a saving grace lately is that I've been able to cook for myself. I even started to gain back some of the weight I lost last year. It's weird, for guys rice just gets processed, but it does the opposite for the girls here. I think malnutrition probably plays a role too.

Another thing that's really nice is that I have some semblance of a social life now. There's two other new volunteers in the city, Vanessa and Arnoldo, and a close friend of mine, Dave, lives about twenty minutes away. He's the guy I've been playing shows with at the local cafe. Next month we're playing "Sheets" by Damien Jurado, "Clay Pigeons" by Blaze Foley, "To Be Alone With You" by Sufjan Stevens, "Such Great Heights" by Iron and Wine, and "White Winter Hymnal" by Fleet Foxes together with vocal harmonies and solos. It's been so much fun! I feel like I'm learning a ton too because we have to really focus on drilling specific things and work together. We also play some solo pieces to supplement it a little bit.

(Vanessa showing off our eggplant curry!)

I just finished eating dinner which was a mix of lentil soup, brown rice, and eggs, all thrown together with curry seasoning, which was a little strange, but I can't stand to waste food, I was super hungry from my run, and I don't have a fridge. So it goes.

(The lentil soup I had for lunch.)

P.S. Here's a link to a fascinating video that Adrian (the British consultant) showed us: