More letters

Following recent success with publication, I’ve just posted up a couple more ‘Letters from Cambodia’ in the Letters page (click the link above).  However since they both contain numerous references to VSO you should read that link first, so that you are absolutely and indisputably clear that VSO has no responsibilty for anything I chose to write.   The first one concerns ‘cultural sensitivity’ and ‘cultural imperialism’, both intended and unintended.  I’ve copied the first couple of sentences below….  you’ll have to click the link to get the rest.

The second, which should appear in the TESS sometime soon, reflects on the quality and range of work being done by VSO volunteers in Cambodia.  It’s difficult work for the most part as it demands that we work through other people; we are not hear to replace them or take their jobs.  It’s often easier to say ‘give that here’ rather than ‘how can I help you to do that better?’. …. The first few sentences are also below:

Phnom Penh 22nd February 2011

As a volunteer, I am committed to cultural sensitivity in all I think, say and do.  I have tried to learn all those obvious ways in which my normal behaviour might cause offence (shoes in the house, giving money with the left hand).   I have been both chastened and amused by stories of cultural faux pas.   Most memorable is the apocryphal tale of the Peace Corps volunteer caught short shortly after arriving at an Asian friend’s house who asked for the ‘wash room’…….

Phnom Penh 22nd February 2011

This one should appear in the Times Ed Supp in March

Volunteering, for all its many ups and downs, is a wonderful way of life and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) is a great volunteering organisation.  Cambodia hosts one of VSO’s biggest country programmes with around 100 volunteers in three areas:  education, health and liveliehoods.    The current strategy is focussed on ‘capacity building’ – volunteers should never do a job which could be done by a local person.  Their role is to develop the abilities of local partners…..

If you want to read more, click the link above!!


2 thoughts on “More letters

  1. I always like to read the perceptions of others, and so far, I think we agree a lot! Had to laugh about the peace corps story, hahaha. I’m not sure if I already did very stupid things… but that’s already a fault, isn’t it??
    Hope to read more!

    • Hi Leandra It’s always good to hear from you. I feel we have all settled into a routine since January, where there are not so many new things to talk about and yet I think there will be many experiences to share, so it will be great to get together in March. Danny

      Best wishes

      Daniel Murphy

      VSO Technical Adviser Dept of Curriculum Development Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport Personal Mobile: 078809938 VSO in Cambodia: 023216734

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