Monday, November 11, 2013


Greetings from Cambodia!!!!
I don't even know where to begin. Seriously. Staring at the computer screen right now. Dumbfounded. Sitting in an internet cafe. It's a bajillion degrees outside. How do I even start................................................................................
OKAY. I'M IN A PROVINCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you believe that?! In our whole group of 22 missionaries that came in this week, only 3 of us were sent outside of Phnom Penh (approximately 80% of the country's missionaries are in Phnom Penh). I'M IN KAMPONG CHAM. For the record, this email is probably going to have a lot of caps, even though that probably conveys a lot more energy than I actually have, which is none. We're the only sister missionaries in the province, so we oversee two branches as opposed to one. And that means we're twice as busy. Who is this "WE" I speak of???? My companion is amazing!!! her name is Sister Homer and she's just the most adorable, sweetest, most patient and loving person in the world. I couldn't have asked for a better trainer. I literally have no idea what I'm doing, and she's a great leader. I wish I could explain in words how insane this work is. I don't know my way around, I have no idea what anyone is saying because they talk so fast and are just mushing all their words together, I don't know anyone's name. It's just..............insane. No idea what's going on. I'm exhausted 24/7, and there's literally no way to escape the heat. The people here make fun of how much I sweat.
Oh, that's another thing. the culture here is brutal honesty. Not to be mean, it's just that the things they say here aren't rude the way they would be in America. People have called me tall, white, pretty, that I have a nice nose, and FAT. All. the. time. I got called fat 3 times yesterday. 4 times if you count the one lady who said "toat toat" ("fat fat"). Which is true. But they also call my companion fat and she's a stick. One of these people also mentioned the fact that I have a lot of zits on my face. But to be fair, they also call freckles zits. Yep. They don't like freckles. But they love white people (or "barraang barraaang" = french person. Everyone white is just french to them). They automatically call you pretty if you have white skin. Strangest thing. They all want to be pale. I don't get it.
Okay let me talk a little about the country itself: You guys. Don't even know. I can't even describe it. There is a city in Kampong Cham which honestly is like Phnom Penh and isn't that bad. But outisde of the city, where I live is like......crap. Crappy crappy crappy. The first member I visited was our branch mission leader, and his house (like most of the house here) is three wooden walls on stilts, and the floor is dried bamboo. That makes is sound so much nicer than it is. Like this is built by hand, has no rooms or doors. It's just a shack on a dirt road filled with potholes and stray dogs and chickens and poop. Sister Homer said that the first time she met this guy, he was cutting up a dog right in front of her. Not okay. Yesterday, after church number 1 (I have two branches = two churches to go to = 6 hours of church on sunday), we went to the house of an investigator because her grandson was sick. We road down a couple dirt roads, basically into the jungle, and found her little shack. We were squatting (I'm working on my asian squat) on this cement/dirt floor and showing her how to use a basic first aid kit. Meanwhile, There are chickens running around and her little kid is covered in dirt lying on a mat. This is like the stuff they put in National Geographic. No joke. Peace Corps ain't got nothing on me.
AND OH MY LORD THE SMELL. THE SMELL YOU GUYS, THE SMELL. Smell-sssss. So many smells. awful, terrible, atrocious smells. smells that will haunt my nightmares for the rest of my life. I wish I had gotten some pictures of the phsaa (market) we went to this morning. Remember that time I threw up in Chinatown just because it smelled bad? Chinatown smells like roses compared to when we ride past the phsaa at noon, when the sun is hottest and the produce and meat and fish have been sitting on the side of the road in 90 degree heat for hours. And there's tons of it. So much garbage and gross things just all over the place, and these people obviously don't have's ghastly. I've been so overwhelmed the past few days that I haven't been able to take many pictures at all of the area where I live, so hopefully I'll get some for you by next week. The front road of my house is just a dirt road that's like....crap. Sorry for the heavy use of the word crap, but I don't even know how to describe this place. The back of my house faces a large field, which I'll get to later. Anyway, when we were in the branch president's house, they were doing something highly unfortunate underneath that hut (again, these huts are on stilts, I think for flooding purposes). I don't know what, but the resulting odor was unlike anything I could ever hope to describe. Plus chickens running around everywhere. Did I mention that there are chickens everywhere?? I wake up at 5am every day not from my alarm but from the rooster that lives right next to us. There are lizards everywhere in our house too. But I'm cool with it. They eat the bugs. Surprisingly, bugs haven't been a big issue. I mean there are little beetles and spiders everywhere, but I haven't encountered a tarantula, scorpion or other unwelcomed creature. AND I HAVE YET TO SEE A COCKROACH. Score one for Kampong Cham.
Well, it turns out I never learned how to bike properly. Seriously, you guys, it's embarrassing.  The other day, my shoe fell off in the middle of an intersection and I had to run across the road barefoot with my shoes in my hands. And then approximately ten minutes later, we were headed to the church and I literally just rode my bike into the gate, head on. I was so tired and saw it coming, and I just let it happen because I don't have the capability on a bike I thought I did.
Okay, so the back of my house. Faces a field. Right. Far off in the distance you can see some wats (like angkor wat, only not as big and nice. Wats are just the temples that monks use). Anyway, yesterday morning, at like 6 am, I hear the strangest noise I've heard in my life. It sounded like it was coming from a speaker. And Sister Homer goes, "In case you were wondering, that noise is the monks chanting." What the......? These monks are chanting, they sound like apes, I don't even know, but the thing that gets me is they're projecting it from a speaker that I can hear across a huge field. I just don't even......All of the 'dot dot dots' by the way is an indication of my lack of ability to explain my current situation. Another thing about my house, underneath my desk, on the first day, I found a real life, rusty, no joke, a sickle and a hatchet. No idea. I still haven't asked about it.
This email is already super long, but I can promise you that Cambodia isn't going to get old anytime soon. I will have a ton of things like that to tell you every week, I swear. Let me just say that this is already the hardest thing I've ever done or will ever do. Cambodia is the coolest mission ever, but I have to be honest, it's gotta be one of the hardest. This is one of the poorest, most forgotten countries in the world. And to be honest, sometimes I feel forgotten along with it. I look at the conditions I'm living in and the things I'm required to do with almost no resources, and the fact that I literally don't get a break until bedtime. And then it starts all over. And I think, "Nobody gets how hard this is." It kills me sometimes, when I'm struggling so much and it's so incredibly hard and I think, "God has forgotten me." And I want to go home. It's only been 4 freaking days! Sometimes I lose my perspective and want to go home. In the moment, it seems like it's worth it. BUT I KNOW IT'S NOT. It's only 16 more months of my entire life, and the days may seem long but it will be over before I know it. And I should stop complaining, stop whining, stop thinking about myself and what I want, and start thinking about why I'm here. It's to help other people, like a woman who lives in a hut in the jungle and has never seen a first aid kit before. I should consider myself lucky, SO SO LUCKY that I get the opportunity to be here and learn and grow and help others. And that's hard to remember sometimes. When you feel like you're going to pass out, and it's 7pm and you're supposed to be home, and you feel like you can't give anymore and then a  little girl at church asks you to ride your bike another 30 minutes home with her because she's's hard to forget about yourself in moments like that and just go to work. Ugh, I'm trying. But sometimes I don't know if I'm going to make it. 
Longest email ever right? Okay well I'm going to sign off now. Sorry I don't have any scriptures for you or anything, I have been so swamped, I have literally no time for myself anymore. Hopefully my email next week will be better and I'll have some real news for you. I love you all so so much, you don't even understand. I started crying when i was reading through all my emails because I miss home so much and I love you a ton. Keep me in your prayers, and know that I'm doing the same for all of you.
Love, Sistaa Daivee

The river along the city part of Kampong Cham.
You know......cows. they're everywhere too. Almost as much as chickens.
The house on the left is what we usually encounter, but there's no water in our area. this was on the way into Kampong Cham. And everyone here rides a moto. The house on the right.....well, I haven't seen anything like that since we've been in our area. they're mostly all shacks.
My delightful companion Sister Homer. She's the best! One of the biggest blessings I have had on my mission so far.
Sorry i don't have more pictures of me doing stuff. I look like poop. always. 24/7.

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