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Mandi Thomas

Mandi Thomas

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  • Keepin' it Riel

    Posted by Jason Moy on 3/29/2011 06:57:56 PM

    cambodia 5 

    Most of my group to Cambodia at Angkor Wat, one of the seven wonders of the world.

    Spring break is a time to leave the country, or so I believe. If you have not been following along like we both know that you should be...I went to Cambodia for ten days. CAM-FREAKING-BODIA. Now just how cool do you think that is? Go on, tell me. SO COOL. Cambodia is the best country in the entire world. I went with an organization called Asian Hope. They are an NGO that works in the education system, with the government a bit, and with the sex trade. As a team of 50 students, we learned a ton about all of these things. I learned all about the Khmer Rouge and the devastation the genocide caused Cambodia and how it explains why Cambodia is the way it is today, one of the most corrupt countries in the world. They speak Khmer there, pronounced Kuh-mai, weird I know. So this was my first country that did not speak Spanish. That was quite an experience. I kept trying to say 'gracias' instead of 'akontron' (thank you very much in Khmer...most likely not spelled correctly). We created an entire 84 x 42" basketball/volleyball court for a rural village an hour and a half outside of Phnom Penh, we taught English in schools in the city, we went to the genocide museum and saw the killing fields where every educated Cambodian was slaughtered, we crossed the country to Siem Riep to see Angkor Wat (one of the wonders of the world), and we worked with NGO's who rehabilitate and prevent sex trafficking. It was the most intense, life-changing, amazing, invaluable, memorable, and hard trip that I have ever been on. I left a changed person and will never be the same for the atrocities I have seen. I look forward to the day I get to return to Cambodia and hopefully live there for a year teaching English at Logos International School or working as an intern at the Pira Project. In the meantime, I will continue to keep it "riel" (Cambodian currency, get it? get it?) in Seattle and as Spring Quarter embarks I vow never to forget what I learned and to in turn teach it to those like you! And now, the photographs that are necessary if you are not yet jealous of my trip to Southeast Asia :)

    cambodia 2 

    Tuk Tuk Ride


    A group of us at the Central Market in Phnom Penh

    cambodia 4 


    Seatac airport, oh how I have missed you!

    Posted by Amanda Thomas on 3/16/2011 10:14:52 PM

    Hey hey hey friends and followers! Guess what?! T-minus 13 hours until I get on a plane to Phnom Penh, Cambodia!! I cannot even tell you how excited I am!!!! There are no words, only shock, excitement, anticipation, some fear, and just plain old joy! Granted I need to make it on the 24-hour plane ride and journey there first and airplane bathrooms are one of my biggest irrational fears soooo we'll see if I make it through! Haha but seriously, airplane bathrooms...I am convinced, and have been since my first plane ride, that I will get sucked down that tiny stainless steel hole. Let's hope that doesn't happen! So here's the lowdown of what I think will happen and when I return I will tell you what actually happens, because as we all know plans always change! First, I do not know a single soul going on my trip. I know some of the leaders, but only because I've met with them before the trip. Second, we are going there to work with NGO's that rehabilitate women that have been sex trafficked. Pretty intense, but so life changing I am sure. Third, we are going to be pouring and making cement for basketball courts at schools in rural villages outside of the city. During those three days I will be opting out of taking malaria pills and hoping that I do not get bit! Ruh roh...wish me luck on that front.

    Anyway guys and girls, I finished my finals with a bang. 4 12-15 page papers, one presentation, and an actual exam and I was finished by Tuesday! It was awesome, I feel very happy about how all of them went and I just want to let you know that finals are really not that bad. It's just a week that you can get out of most responsibilities with the school finals excuse and focus on a few exams. Pretty rad. So now I am in my room with some candles lit, painting my nails, packing my stuff, and eating some treats, waiting until I leave for the most amazing trip of a lifetime!!! Wish me luck and hopefully you will get a one-of-a-kind Cambodian gift from yours truly! Until next time, I am off to cross the international dateline and speak some Khmer! Happy Springtastic Break! LOVE LOVE LOVE! :)