Saturday, June 2, 2012

Cambodian Culture

We have entered a culture and semi-entered into it as fully as possible in a three week period with NO language skills. When you look at the writing system and try to decipher its composition and meaning, you want something to click. You want it to come clear to your mind...for the figures to at least be recognizable. Spanish, Portuguese and most European language use our basic alphabet system and are phonetic. Even Ukranian letters have phonetic meaning explicable to an English speaking person. In my three weeks here, I have begun to hear and reproduce names without having someone write them in my alphabet. I have not been successful in learning even the simplest phrase in oral K'Mer.
That frustrates me. I am amazed by my young students who not only write fluently in their own text, but can replicate the written English language! Even as young as five give it a good try! Occasionally I have a teen who struggles and gets help from a younger child. I have to be impressed that they try! I am leaving my children with 18 new songs, 8 firm stories from scriptures, 3 group games and lots of new vocabulary. When I return to Phnom Penh, I hope to visit in their school and homes. **** This month has been the national month of campaigning. This weekend, Friday through Monday, the world seems to slow down to a crawl. Friday and Monday are national holidays so people can travel home to vote. Each goes to his own village where he is registered to vote. Voting occurs on Sunday afternoon. Tomorrow we will have worship at 8:30. I will hold Sunday school for the children who are still in town during the worship hour. **** This afternoon after English class we ran to town looking for an ATM. We visited the mall. What a shock to my system! This looked nothing like anything we have experienced in the past three weeks. We traversed five floors of specialty stores, elevators, escalators and specialty restaurants such as Swensons getting from the parking garage back down to the ATM. The people were dressed in western style and shopped as families, groups of teens or couples out for an afternoon stroll. Advertisements for 3D cinema and sales clerks that spoke English were abundant. Less than five miles from our school, and yet my children have never seen anything like this in their lives. They are unaware of its existence!**** Our time here is winding down. As I write this evening, the CBI students are rehearsing for tomorrow's service. Their preparations are well planned. Their voices unite in harmony and in parts as if in rounds. The love and joy they experience in the Lord is evident in their their faces...and in their treatment of others. After worship they will disperse to their villages and return on Tuesday. Monday morning Sokhom, Srey Nang, Joe and I will head northwest to Siem Reap to tour the ancient temples often referred to as the eighth wonder of the ancient world. Our plane will leave from there late Tuesday night.

1 comment:

  1. Wow......this is so beautifully written explaining so much!! I know it will be hard to leave but God has used you mightily!
    I love you!