Hello you faithful blog readers out there….
It’s been a while since I’ve posted. This is partly due to my new exercise routine (photo of the VIP sports club – $3 admission! – below – you will notice an important detail.. that when I go at lunchtime the place is virtually empty!).
My lunchtimes when in the office (2 hours when the office is completely emptied of all local staff, who go home, eat and sleep) used to involve among other things, such as more desk work, composition of the next blog. However now that I have discovered the VIP sports club, three lunchtimes a week are spent sitting on an exercise bike with the world’s most uncomfortable saddle (bad enough for a guy, but I would guess impossible for a woman!), listening to various audiobooks, then recovering with a (very) slow 15 lengths of the pool. It’s a hard life. Last week, I finished the ‘Chocolate Wars’, with its interesting insights into 19th Century Quaker business and 21st Century takeover capitalism and am now listening to a collection of essays by Chinua Achebe ( The Education of a British Protected Child ), offering a wise African view on colonial influence, education and politics in Africa in the past 70+ years. Having also been offered some money through my ‘letters’ (see above and also the Guardian Weekly at Letter from Cambodia ), the incentive to write the blog reduced and the incentive to work on the ‘letters’ increased! This is, of course, a perfect recipe for ‘writer’s block’, even for such a humble scribe as me.
Truth to tell, another major contributory factor is my changing mood since Joan and the others departed last month. This is partly a consequence of entering the final phase of my work here. Some of the most significant projects I have been involved in are now finished (at least as far as I am concerned) while the novelty of life here has worn off. I am no longer as excited by the mina bird in the tree outside the house, the monkey which occasionally investigates my verandah for any interesting newspaper articles (judging by state in which she leaves my pile of Guardian Weekly and Cambodia Daily ), the crazy local driving habits, the prospect of six or seven hours bus journeys to places not yet visited, the cadences and surprises of a different language and culture. I am also highly aware that I now have only 29 working days (last day at work is 31st March) in which to leave a tidy platform for the Ministry staff who will carry on without me (hopefully with some support from VSO) on at least two of the projects to which I have been devoting a fair amount of time and effort – the staff development dvd and the English Language curriculum for Cambodian schools. An important meeting on the latter, with the Director at the Ministry, is to be held tomorrow (Monday) morning and so I am spending today (Sunday) preparing the paperwork and the analyses which will be necessary to assist good decision making.
I guess that last entry gives the game away. Work is getting pretty busy too! More of that later.
That’s over my 500 words for today. If there is good news to report, expect another blog later in the week!!