Hi family, friends and all such folk!
This is the start of my blogosphere in which I am learning to use WordPress before I begin to capture and publish my impressions of Cambodia.
Why Brechdan? Because Adrian is in use by someone else and I’ll miss my dog. I’ll miss my family and friends too but they can read the blog and the dog can’t. If the blog is dreadful and you start wishing you couldn’t read it either then email me and I’ll consider renaming the blogsite after you. But you’d better be convincing…
Why the Adele penguins? Because Hilary and I loved them when we visited Antarctica and because they will be important to me in Cambodia. Let me explain.
VSO training so far has involved a 3 week on-line course, two residential weekends and a two week on-line course which ends one week before D-Day. The topics covered have included health, security, skills for working in development and exploring new cultures and this is where the penguins come in.
A new culture is likened to an iceberg and a volunteer such as me is a seagull, flying in from afar, seeing the berg from above and maybe diving in the sea a little but always of the sky. The nationals live like fish and their culture is well known to them but they may have difficulty explaining it to seagulls. The penguins experience life above and below the water surface. They may be nationals who have worked with volunteers or studied abroad, or foreigners who worked in the country and learned the language and ways. They are most important creatures. I’m going to need the penguins.
In the meantime it’s a virtual VSO world. As far as I know D-Day is the 2nd March and before then I’m due to work for a week without breaking my back, ski for a week without breaking a leg and pack for three months without breaking the 25kg weight limit.
And what’s the Great White Toe in the Tonle Sap? It just my way of saying going to Cambodia with VSO is a ‘toe in the water’ for me. Perhaps it will lead somewhere, perhaps not. White people in Cambodia, as in many developing countries, represent the great, the wealthy, the height unreachable for the under-priveleged – so the Great White Toe is my very own and the Tonle Sap is the biggest stretch of inland water in South East Asia especially in the rainy season.
So watch this space and I’ll try and keep it interesting. And brief. And illustrated. Thank you!