Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Two weeks with 11 Aussies

If you want to see photos of when the team was here go to Village Visit. If you want to read about my experience of hosting a team of 11 Aussies for 2 weeks then keep reading.

The group was from one of my churches in Australia. Soeun and I really enjoyed their visit, and felt really encouraged to know this church is partnering with us. I've been on this sort of trip before, but I've never been the one organising it. Before I nervous, wondering what it would be like. It was exciting and exhausting to have them here. They were all very eager to learn and had many questions.

Some random things in no particular order:

*A Cambodian hired a bus for us. It was a bus for 20 people, so I told the team it would be big enough for us and our bags (11, plus a Khmer friend, plus me and driver=14 people). However the night before I was told it only had 16 seats! When the bus turned up in the morning it actually had only 12 seats!!!!

A bus for 20 people does not mean a bus with 20 seats. Even though I know that Cambodians pack more people and things into a smaller space than I'm used to, I didn't realise what was going on here until I saw the bus.

When buying a seat in an interprovince taxi ex pats usually buy 2 seats each , just so they can get what we would call a full seat.

So I guess that's an example of how different cultures/different mindsets can have misunderstandings. So if you know any people working cross culturally, this is something to pray for them.

*When we visited places the team did an Australian presentation. I really enjoyed it it! It was also fun for me to listen to the translation. From this I learnt the Khmer word for "state" (as in what Australia has instead of provinces) and Indigenous people as well as hearing 4 different translations of life guard/lifesaver (surf). I only understood 3 of them though.

*Team members kept commenting on things I've never noticed, like the way people modify their moto engines, and that cows here are skinnier than in Oz. I don't remember seeing cows up so close in Oz, and I never really look at motos.

There is a big gap between rich and poor here, many team members were seeing this for the first time. This was interesting for me to see as I guess I've gotten a bit used to it.

I learnt more about Cambodia by watching them learn about it, I guess different people see different things.

*I think I felt a bit of reverse culture shock when they left. Three Cambodians and I went to the airport to say goodbye to the team, then the four of us went out to dinner afterwards. As soon as the team left I found my 3 Khmer companions began to speak Khmer language! I could only understand a little of what they were saying, and I couldn't contribute to the conversation. This continued over dinner and I felt frustrated and left out.

At first I felt surprised that this was happening. But actually that's what my life is like most of the time, it was just a surprise because I had been part of an English speaking group for two weeks.

*Before they left one of them must have gone around our house putting clip on koalas everywhere. I keep seeing them in the strangest places all over our house.


Nicole said...

I bet it was rach with the koalas!
Thanks so much for all that you showed and shared with us, as well as all the organising you put into the trip. Had such a unique experience and I miss cambodia! Will be praying for you lots.
love niki

Anonymous said...

Thankyou both for your hospitality and the many opportunities you provided for my family(Andrew and Bec) to experience your lives in Cambodia.It has been life changing.
We are reminded of the richness of God's grace as we see God at work in such a diverse culture,and are reminded of His love for all peoples. We will be praying for you both for rest and refreshment during your break.
Love Angela.

Angela said...

Thankyou both for the hospitality and your lives you so lovingly shared with my family (Andrew and Bec)
We continue to be encouraged seeing how God is at work in Cambodia. How His grace is sufficient in all contexts.
Hope and pray for a refreshing holiday..
Love Angela

Anonymous said...


I can't wait to chat with you when I get back!!! I know what you mean about getting used to people chatting and not being part of the conversation. I have been talking my head off here in oz. I find everyone's conversations so interesting and it's so nice to be able to communicate on a deeper level and have such rich conversations here. I hadn't realised how much i'd missed that.

Love you lots!