Prospective long-term volunteer

Greetings from Beverly, Mass.! I anticipate retirement in the summer of 2016 and am strongly considering volunteering for an organization in Cambodia known as CPOC (Caring for Poor and Orphaned Children) for at least a year, if possible. Meanwhile, I thought it would be worthwhile to try to correspond with American expats in Cambodia. I've been spending some time, recently, researching that country and its culture. I have yet to discover anything that would make me want to abandon my goal, although I have to admit that my excitement is mixed with anxiety, since I've only ever lived in New Jersey or Massachusetts. I'd love to share some thoughts about my plans and learn more about others' experiences with having relocated to Cambodia. Thanks!

I am a retired USN plus another civilian career type expat here. One year now in Siem Reap, Cambodia and my thoughts to you (Seen from another of your posts about Khmer culture verses US) - if you prefer a less hectic pace of life, Cambodia is right in line. Though even after a year here I still must scratch my head at some of the differences between the Khmer culture and many western (Brit, German, Aussie, American, French, etc...) cultures. Most Khmer's are a very kindly group, but I have one area the causes me the most difficulty. Their anxiousness to appease others, locals and foreigners alike, lends to what I see as a problem that I am having difficulty with reconciling. They will say whatever they believe will please another. This is good however, they seem at times not to understand that they should back there words up with their actions. Oft times, their reliability is very suspect. I mean I have found that at times that you can not rely on their word. They will acknowledge they have said and yet then not follow through on what they said they would or will do. I have seen little or any remorse for their failure to back their own words with actions.
Please do not get me wrong, Cambodia and the Khmer people are lovely by nature. A peaceful people and friendly. I just would like you to remember it is going to be a far different environment than that of western hustle and bustle. One must have the temperament to accept things as they are, and not expect significant acceptance of western ideas, thoughts and procedures.... cause it will not most likely happen.
True at times frustration sets in and I wonder how I happen to come to be here in Cambodia. Then after I shake off the confusion, I look around, and I know why I am staying here - It is a pretty good place to be.

Very helpful feedback, Jeffgeo! I've been involved in an outreach project for Latino senior citizens at my current place of employment, and the dynamic is very similar, I think. Americans, which includes me, are  (or should be) very geared to respecting time and work commitments. If a meeting starts at 10 a.m., I'm at the table by 9:55. If I tell a colleague I'm going to do something, he/she can consider it done. The Latino culture (specifically Dominican, in my case) is much less keyed in to clocks. At first, it was very frustrating because my Latino friends thought nothing of showing up to a meeting 15, 30, 45 minutes late ... or call to cancel after the scheduled meeting had already passed! Same dynamic with them making a commitment to do something. They'll do it, but it could be a month from the time they made the commitment, when I'd assumed it would be done in a day. Fortunately, I caught on after about a year and have learned to be more flexible when dealing with my amigos. In some ways their perspective on time is sort of liberating!  Instead of apologizing profusely for being late to a meeting, I just show up when I show up ... and life goes on! Anyway, your post was exactly the sort of feedback I was seeking. Thanks for your consideration, and best wishes! -- Bill

As you have mastered the Latino program of the meaning of time... you should have no problem with Khmer time.  :D Cambodia is truly wonderful, exciting country. Any and all help to these beautiful people and this nation is or will be  appreciated by most all. Should your decision be Cambodia, your time and efforts can be of great benefit to their nation and the people. I myself am not a resident expert of any issues here, but if you ask I will give you my honest opinion, good or bad, right or wrong.  Remember though, I try and will give you just the facts...however I am an American and can't help but to occasionally throw my two cents in. :idontagree:

Hello Jeff,

Welcome on board and great to hear that you willing to help our nation and people, I have do some CSR (Cooperate Social Responsibly) work with my co-workers to many orphanage and poor man in our country, as we donate some of used clothes, bags, shoes, toy, reading book and new writing book, pen, pencil, candy, even though, we have play some friendly football match with the orphans, teaching them how to painting etc.

Some of the times, we gathering with utility technician go to help the orphanage to fixed/maintenance some daily use/electrical equipment.

If you here, please let us know, we will foresee and cooperate to helping our community.

Best Regards
Bryan

Hello Bryan I am also an American retired. I will be returning to PP in about a week or two how can I get in contact with you. So we can sit down and discuss the needs of your people and country. I have been staying in Thailand off and on for twenty eight years and have some idea what it takes for a country to grow with needed and honest help.  :top:

Hello Mr. Goldenasian1,

Thanks for your responded, you can drop me an e-mail via; ++++

Hope we can sharing good experience for helping people and community.

Have a nice day.

Best Regards
Bryan

Moderated by Maximilien 4 years ago
Reason : avoid posting your personal details pls

I am not American but I love the spirit of that thread... Thanks to all of you. I dearly love Cambodia too!

Hello Bryan I am now in Phnom Phen for six more days if there is a way for us to get together and sit down and do a little rap, I would be more then happy for that. Give me a location time and place and we will try and make it happen.

Thanks
Charlie

Am here .....

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