Friday, May 29, 2015

May 29th, 2015

It's been an informative and good week.  Usually welfare/humanitarian training starts on a Monday with a trip to Salt Lake City and orientation on the resources there, but since Monday was a holiday and most of the people we were going to meet with at their work sites had the day off, we got a day off too (followed by a pretty intense three days as they crammed everything else in the amount of time remaining). So on Monday we were able to go with Lewis's cousin Art to the cemetery where their parents are buried, take the Frontrunner  (commuter train) up to SLC to meet up with one of Lewis's best friends for lunch, and later have dinner with Bro. and Sis. Christensen who has accepted and assignment to be responsible for us and the other volunteer missionaries in Cambodia and Vietname starting next month.  All of those were pleasant and informative interactions.  And I was impressed by the Frontrunner.  It's very nice addition to the transportation options in the metro area here.

Tuesday through Thursday has been full of good information mostly about the process of partnering with good in-country organizations, sustainability, cooperative skills and analysis of projects in the planning, ongoing and follow-up stages of any work we do.  There was helpful discussion of maintaining cooperative relationships, being aware of motives, involvement of recipients, areas of focus where out-of-country church sponsored volunteer resources are currently available (vision, clean water, maternal and infant care, wheelchairs, food production and immunizations), how to find in-country partners for those and other areas of need, and how to handle various issues of bribes and corruption when it's encountered.  (answer: it depends)

Now it is Friday.  We're packing suitcases, doing laundry and heading out in a couple of hours.  The itinerary includes Los Angeles to Hong Kong, to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, to Kuala Lumpur and then finally to Phnom Penh.  We expect to arrive exhausted, purchase our Cambodian visas in the airport when we get there (Vietnam ones still in process, who knows....) and try to keep our eyes from constantly shutting in profound sleep whenever we sit down during our first days there.

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