Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Coolest job on earth

Okay, I'm still not exactly sure what I'm going to be doing for the summer, but I think that's just how things work here. As projects and problems come up I'll just be diving in. So for those not interested in international stuff I'll sum up my last two days sans NGO and legal language. Then I'll do a separate post about all that for those who care (um, is Amanda the only one? ;-)) And for those who are just checking this for pictures of cute Australian boys (Stacie), I've been selfish and not taking pics, just keeping them all to myself ;-) Okay, I haven't really met too many people. A few at the guesthouse but they're always leaving the next day. Today, however, I met a couple from Australia who are working at the university here and I will hopefully be hanging out with them this weekend. Maybe tripping down to the beach.
Let's see....Sunday I just took it easy: sleeping in, a leisurely (and very hot) stroll down the riverfront, discovering the Pencil (great grocery/everything you need store). Then Monday morning Doris came to "pick me up" (consisting of showing up on a moto and me getting one to follow her). Oh, and Mom-she gave me a helmet that I wear everytime I ride the little motos around. Hotter than hell but given that I feel I've already nearly died three times probably a good idea.
We went to the Ministry where she introduced me to everyone. The legal department is very small, pretty much just her and a Cambodian named Vanny, but we share an office with a GTZ domestic violence project--a German organization similar to USAID. Tomorrow I will be going with them to a village where they will be doing a training workshop on Thursday. Little field trip just to see what a grassroots training program might look like. So Monday Doris gave me background on how the Cambodian system works (details below) and then I got a whole stack of reading material including all penal and civil codes (again details below) and the domestic violence law. Umm, a gecko just ran across the computer screen...that was strange. Anyhow, moving on, I spent the rest of Monday reading and learning a ton.
Today was where the amazing comes in. This morning we attended a "workshop"put on by the World Bank in conjunction with the Cambodian government introducing the World Bank's report on equity and development in Cambodia. Of note from this meeting--the Prime Minister Hun Sen was the keynote speaker, preceded by the Country Director for World Bank who I was able to briefly chat with on the coffee break. The German and US ambassadors were present (only ones we recognized, and they jetted after Hun Sen's speech), as well as all sorts of just cool international development people. Then I went to lunch with Doris and a woman who is just starting work for the Asia Foundation and has been working here in the area of trafficking for the MoWA (where I work).
Then I went to a meeting of the Technical Working Group on Gender, presided over by the Minister of my ministry herself. Here there were to be presentations on trafficking, domestic violence, and something else. But only the gentleman presenting on trafficking showed. And it was pretty high up people who didn't show. Someone from the MoWA and someone from Ministry of Justice. There was also no AC and the power cut out 5 times. Far cry from the too-cold AC in the conference room of the Intercontinental Hotel at the World Bank deal. But it was interesting to get a little look at the "functioning"of a co-ministry working group. Pressing issues were brought up to address and the next meeting and in choosing between early July or the end of August for the next meeting, they chose August. Which means all of those issues will probably be moot by then. But whatever.
So that's been my job so far. I'm setting up meetings with people from different agencies so I can explore as much as possible this summer, and it looks like I'll be working on putting together an introduction to the domestic violence law, suggesting changes for the upcoming draft laws on education and trafficking, and looking at the labor laws to see where gender can possibly be incorporated. Not sure what will come of all that, but it's a good starting point. Hope everyone is well.


Stacie said...

Hello, so this blog was posted at 3:50 AM. Interesting. How did you know I like Australian boys? Take some freaking pictures please and thank you.

Kristi said...

That would be 3:50 am your time so about 5:50 pm my time. Have to say I'm not quite exciting enough to be up at 4 am...I've been going to bed about 9 ;-)

Anonymous said...

So, I see in your pictures that people randomly carry things around on their head? You should walk by and jump in front of them and see what happens. Picture in your head me doing that.... HA.
You room is awesome! I think your computer table needs to be a little shorter please.