Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Teaching, Tan-lines and Traffic

Am I alive? I think I'm alive. Literally checking my pulse as we speak. I have officially made it alive in Kampong Cham province for 12 days. But I can tell you it definitely doesn't feel like 12 days. My body clock is telling me that my mission is pretty much over already.
Here's the other reason I'm happy to be alive. I'm in an internet cafe right now obviously, but I had A TON of emails to read through so I've already been here for a while, and I had to pee soooooo badly. And so, THOU SHALT MARK NOVEMBER 17 OF THE YEAR TWO THOUSAND AND THIRTEEN AS THE FIRST TIME SISTER CHLOE DAVIS HAS UTILIZED A SQUATTY POTTY. Because that's all they have here in Cambodia, are squatty potties. Let me tell you a little something about squatty potties: they're exactly what they sound like. Right as I reluctantly stand up to go use it, I look back at Sister Homer and with such real, genuine empathy in her eyes she whispers, "good luck!" This girl is my savior. I am sufficiently scarred for the rest of the day so that's all I'm going to say about that.
Okay what happened this week. What DIDN'T happen this week? I'm actually starting to get used to this place. SO SO SLOWLY, but surely. It's becoming normal for me to walk outside and ride down Bung Snaay with it's tin houses or go to the branch mission leader's house and smell.....things. It's actually semi-normal. It's still crazy, and I still never forget how insane this life is that I'm living, but it's not impossible. A couple days ago Sister Homer said something to me that described Cambodia perfectly: "What you see, what you smell, what you hear, what you feel, what you taste.....Cambodia is perfectly designed to just severely disturb every single one of your senses." There is no better way to put it. Cambodia disturbs all of your senses, and it will probably take me approximately 10,000 years to stop being disturbed. But hey, I'm on my way. PS I've got a few awesome pictures for you today that will give you a little glimpse into the things I see and do every day. Actually, I've got a ton. Get stoked.
Okay so let me start off with the title of the email. One thing I have to mention is the fact that I'm getting tanlines already. Everywhere. Name a tanline, I've got it. Skirt tan line, shoe tan line, shirt tanline, watch tanline. Also the traffic. I've been thinking about what would happen if any of you saw me riding my bike around here. I know for certain you'd have a heart attack. I literally am close to getting run over every single day. There are NO road rules here. Absolutely none. Trucks, motos, cars all just weaving in and around each other and there are the missionaries on their bikes in the middle of the mess. I should be dead by now. BUT HEY: God loves His missionaries. So I'm still alive......? Yep still alive.
Teaching is slightly awesome and slightly terrifying and slightly impossible and slightly one of the best parts of being on a mission. First of all, I LOVE teaching the kids here. Didn't see that one coming, didya? Teaching kids is my favorite thing to do. Mostly because my language can be much simpler, which is easy for me too, plus they're all so flippin adorable. I taught this one girl named Ganyaa and seriously everytime we see her Sister Homer and I are just like, "where can i get one of her?! She's so freaking cute!!!" And the kids are also SO smart too, which is great to see when most of them have parents that don't even know how to read and write. We also have this one group of kids that are all cousins or something. We call it "The 5-kid Special" and we just take a bible story picture and just tell them a story basically. They live in an area called Vial Ksaac, which I have a couple pictures of. It's my favorite place to teach. Also, in Vial ksaac, i swear to you I found the Cambodian version of Nanny. I'm not even joking. She was telling us a story and I had NO CLUE what she was talking about, but she was cracking me up with her tone of voice and facial expressions. She is so the Asian Nana.
Teaching can also be terribly frustrating. Like with this one investigator we have named Ming Mau. Oh Ming Mau, what am I going to do with you. This is actually the same lady whose grandson was sick and we brought her the first aid kit. But there's a problem with that. I love helping people here and doing service (which I'll talk some more about), but SO MANY Cambodians have this idea in their head that our church and specifically the missionaries are here to just give them things. We are a service church. We are always the first on call to help when someone or some place needs it. But we, especially the missionaries, are not here to give you money. We're here to give you something better than that. We're here to teach you about the greatest message you will ever know about. And it SUCKS that they don't even realize it. When we were teaching Ming Mau the other night, she was definitely intoxicated, but we don't know to what extent. So she had been drinking and she wasn't listening to anything we were saying (she also thinks that we're gods apparently. because I guess that's how Buddhists sometime view their monks, so we had to explain that we're not gods, we're just teachers. awkward). And anyway, she kept saying things like, "will you give me medicine? Will you give me money? Will you pay for my rent?" And we had to explain to her, WE DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY. We're not getting paid to be here. We're doing this for free because it's that important to us! Why do you think I left America to come to Cambodia! I must have something SUUUUUPER important to say! I wish I could just shake people by the shoulders and tell them that. So it's hard when people don't appreciate the reasons we've come here and learned their language and gave up a portion of our lives for because they think we'll just feed them and give them money. Super yap (annoying).
Can I just tell you the funniest thing that Ming said though? We asked her if she had been praying every day like we asked her to, and her response is this: "When I pray, I pray, and when i don't pray, I don't pray."
.......................................thank you. that doesn't answer my question in the slightest. Obviously it wasn't funny at the time, but Sister Homer and I were cracking up thinking back on it this morning. Cool Ming, cool.
Anyway, I got to do service last week with the rest of our district. We helped a member plant peanuts. No I'm not kidding. they were way out in the middle of nowhere and they had fields behind their house. LET ME TELL YOU: Cambodians are eerily particular about the way you are supposed to put peanuts in the ground. C'mon. I got corrected on my arrangement of peanut seeds more times than I can count. But it was so fun. I think doing service like that has to be one of my favorite parts of being a missionary. 
I just love helping the people here. Most of them have such hard conditions to deal with. Whether it's their house, the fact that their legs don't work, the fact that they can't even afford to send their kids to school (which absolutely BREAKS my heart that these amazing kids don't have the opportunity to go to school). I just wish i could change all of their lives. But for right now, I have to be content laying the foundation brick by brick. I can't change Cambodia in one 18 month stint. So I'm doing my part as a missionary and hope that for just one person, that can make the difference some time down the road in their future. 
I just don't even know what else I have to say. I honestly could write for hours about the things that happen to my every single second of the day, but I definitely don't have that kind of time, and my emails are already crazy long. Plus I've got a bunch of pictures for you and a picture is worth a thousand words; when you're in Cambodia, it's worth a TRILLION WORDS.
I love you all to the moon and back. I think about you every single day!!! Thank you so much for all of the love and support - from everyone!!!
Love, Sister Davis

This is a house in Bung Snaay that I teach at. Her name is Phalli. I was actually trying to get a picture of the whole road, but I didn't want to be the insensitive American taking pictures so I snapped this one from my bag. So sorry I couldn't get the rest of the road. but you probably get the idea.
This is Vial Ksaac. It's beautiful there. probably the prettiest part of Kampong Cham. 
                                                            More of Vial Ksaac.
                                                            YAY FOR SERVICE! 

Also, you can go ahead and make this my profile picture on facebook. I don't think I'll ever get a better picture to represent the fact that I'm a missionary in Asia. The nametag, the peace sign, the Cambodian head scarf (not a fashion statement - simply to absorb the sweat, I promise), the fact that I'm planting peanut seeds. It's all there. 
This is the house of the family we did service for. We ate lunch with them afterwards. guys, Cambodian food is actually super awesome. But DONT EAT THE CHICKEN. the chicken of cambodians is not the same chicken of americans. its just...........not chicken. heed my warning!!! I think I'll take a picture of the meat area of the phsaa for you next week.

1 comment:

  1. I cannot stop reading this post!!!! It is amazing to hear what GOOD people are doing in other parts of this CRAZY world. What a hopeful and peaceful feeling to know that the dignity of a people who've been as brutally oppressed as the Cambodians have sweet souls like Chloe willing to spend 18 months with them! She is a gift to all of us.