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Stacey Brandsma's Blog

You will frequently hear Khmer people exclaiming this particular statement.  At first, I was quite unsure of what it really meant, but after being here for over three months, I have begun to actually use it in my daily conversations.  Same same but different.  You may be a bit confused at what it means, but let me explain it a bit.  When I was in Kep, I asked our boat driver if the water was saltwater or freshwater... he replied...

It baffles me how fast these last few months have gone.  I am sitting here in Phnom Penh planning my last weekend trip, evaluating my last field visit, writing articles and reflections as my semester starts to wind down.  I don't want to start writing about my final thoughts and reflections on this semester yet, so I will save that for next week's entry.  This one will be short!

It was very fitting that my final visit to the field happened...

Many of you know that I have a special place in my heart for the needs and empowerment of women worldwide. This desire for gender equality has stemmed from a myriad of circumstances and situations, all of which have converged into becoming a 'militant feminist', as one of my professors has jokingly labeled me.

Many of you also may know that women, as compared to men, bear the brunt of poverty in a disproportionate amount.  

This feminization of poverty (see Ida...

Usually, when I sit down and write a blog post I have a vague idea of where it is intended to bring me and by association, you.  Generally, I would have something that I wanted to share with all you lovely folks or an event that was thought-provoking or inspiring.  However, this week I am at a loss.  I quite honestly have no idea where this is going to go.

The last week has been a week...

Well my friends, it has been a busy couple of weeks.  I didn’t even have time to sit down and write a blog last week.  I hope you will forgive me!

For the time being, I have been working feverously on my project under the income generation team.  This project involved developing a survey (with the whole team) asking families how they make money, how they spend it, if they have loans, etc.  Initially I was excited to get...

For the last few weeks I have been able to join in on field visits to many of our partner organizations and their participating villages.  Last week I went for two days and participated in another Farmer Field School.  This one was quite fun as I was able to participate more fully in what was going on.  I even learned a few things that I am planning on implementing in my garden back home!  These visits have provided me with...

My Dad told me that he likes to read happier posts.  I promised him this week would be better. 

I had a pretty rough week which included nightmares, little to no sleep, and urgent phone calls to both sisters.  Because of this, I stayed away from any mass grave sites.  It is pretty easy to get so bogged down with the past terrors of what happened in this country and forget about the changes that are being made to...

*Not suitable for younger viewers.

This is going to be a long and emotional post. The night after I talked to my parents about it, I couldn’t sleep. Consider yourself warned. 

This past weekend, I went to the Killing Field that is just outside of Phnom Penh.  Choeung Ek was one of the major mass graves in Cambodia because of its proximity to the city (far enough away that nobody really knew what was going on, but close enough for easy access)....

This past weekend marked the official procession and cremation of the former King Norodom Sihanouk.  Placed on the throne by the French when he was a mere 18 years, Sihanouk has had an influential presence in Cambodia and will be remembered by all and revered by many.  He was chosen mainly because the French thought he would be easy to control, however they couldn’t have been more wrong. 

After WWII and a mere 9 years into his...

Okay, I am going to preface this post with a disclaimer.  My roommates and I used to joke that we all used disclaimers way too often, but oh well.  This is happening. 

This is a really vulnerable post and I was hesitant in posting it on the grand World Wide Web.  It does feel a bit strange to type my thoughts and emotions into a keyboard and onto a screen and after which anyone can read them. 

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