Mony was nine year old Cambodian girl who lived with her family in a house down the street. Approaching me one day, she said, "Hello. can you help me learn English?" Without hesitation, I agreed to teach her in exchange for meals that her mother insisted on providing. Already equipped with a classroom proficiency in English, Mony quickly grasped new words and expressions, often using a newly-acquired word like "salutations" or "y'all" several times a day for several weeks. When we first started, our conversations consisted of simple question and answer sessions, but they evolved into longer and more complex dialogues in which the popular children's books, which she eagerly endeavored to read.
Sometimes I came home to her asking, "Can you explain the difference between a noun clause and an adjective clause?" or "Would you read the book report I wrote bout Stuart Little?" When I left Cambodia in August, she had just been admitted to the best school in Phnom Penh as its youngest student and was writing me a report on Anna Sewell's Black Beauty. Before my departure, I advised her to read a chapter each day and write a report for each book she completed. Even after I returned to the United States, our frequent communication has allowed me to continue helping her with her studies. She recently e-mailed me a copy of her monthly grade report, which showed that she was number one in her class at school.
Working with Mony is a pleasure on so many levels: watching her grow intellectually, encouraging her curiosity, helping her realize her dream of one day becoming a doctor. A country still reeling in the aftermath of genocide, Cambodia needs bright, ambitious young people like Mony to lead this future. She's unique not only in her remarkable intelligence, but also in the unwavering support she receives from her family, especially her grandpa. Educated in law in Malaysia and fluent in English and French, Mony's grandpa continually pushes her to achieve increasingly high levels of excellence,. In a completely male-dominated society like Cambodia, her accomplishments as a 10 years old girl are even more remarkable.
Her clear passion for learning inspires and assures me that my contribution is a direct and substantial investment in a n improved future for Cambodia. In Mony, I had finally begun to find the answers I had set out to discover.
There are some mails from me and Brandy to explain a quote:
We settled into the old routine of Mony and Sophea hanging out in our room, talking, playing games and so on; great meals fixed by Jeudy and eaten with Samnang, Sokhom, Mony and Sophea; walking to the Russian market and internet cafe; relaxing; having our morning coffee on the balcony watching the world go by: people selling ice, charcoal, brooms, eggs, flowers, coconuts, fruit; school children walking, holding hands, riding bikes (holding hands), school teahcers, people going to market, coming from market, trash pickers, old guys sitting across the way and upstairs, on the balcony, really old people stooping around, and here comes three teen girls walking along, holding hands, talking; motos, cars, trucks, and lots of carts.
The first time I was in Phnom Penh I expierienced it as dark and dangerous. When we went to the Russian Market (a block from where we're staying now) there was a man lyng face down in the mud, a man with no face (njust an open, infected wound), children with the red hair and sores and big bellies of malnutrition, beggars every few feet, and in a place where we were eating on the riverfront we saw a woman beating one of the vendor children with bamboo like a whip (I intervented) and it all seemed, like I said dark and dangerous.
Now I seems definitely better and like maybe I was misperceiving the degree of darkness before, or all the above.
Following from an email from Leslieto her sister: I think ti's Christmas Day or night where all of youare now so Merry Christmas to all. It's 9.00 am on December 26th here we celebrated yesteday-our little family 1 st after getting up, and then a huge feast and party in the evening with our family here. The food was unbelievable- 3 people cooking all day to produce a fabulous Thai soup, egg rolls, rice paper with wrapped spring rools, grilled chicken, pork satay grilled outside, fried rice, special cambodian salad, and more.
It was topped off by a mocha almond cake covered in whipped cream from a frenchbakery! Then we sang- karaoke with the girl. "Oh Carol" is the one they always want me to do but use Charles's name instead and "Hotel California" for Charles. The sing with us and also backup+many songs for just the 2 of them. It is really fun and we laughed till we cried. Charles pantomimed poor Tommy dying on the race track singing"Tell Laura(Leslie in this case)I love her,"etc...Too funny and he lays cut and bleeding cluching his poor heart which is broken in more way than. Everyone just exploded in laugh and applause!..........................
Brilliant student she learns at Rice University of Texas. In July she visits Cambodia the first time for one month. She stays at my house. She works at Sihanouk hospital with David. She's a volunteer to teach anatomies lessons to personal of hospital. My family is very excited to welcome her. She's very nice girl, smiled and very kind. She can play violin very well. She plays it at Art Café. At home we play together, teach me the way to write a report book and sometimes watch the movies. She also gives me a lot of advice to be strong in English: speaking, writing, and listening is my purpose. My family wants her to be a part of mine. When she left, she gave me the gift with good advice like these: Miss you much my Brandy.
-You've brains in your head. You've feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. You're the girl who'll decide where to go. And will you succeed? Yes indeed, yes indeed. Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed! (Now Brandy continue to study at Cambridge University of England for her doctor speciality "Brain")
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood and looked down and one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth; then took the other, as just as fair, and having perhaps the better claim, because it was grassy and wanted wear, though as for that the passing there had worn them really about the same, and both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
by: Robert Frost
Response to Brandy "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us?" it means the obstacle or difficulties behind us or before us is very small if we compare them with our duty or our effort to do some thing for successful. I show you one example" Members of the Achilles Track Club, an organization for people with disabilities, have just managed to climb Kilimanjaro, one of the highest mountain peaks in the world. On their backs they carried their equipment, but in their hearts they also carried the hopes and dreams of everyone who at some point in their lives has felt afraid, fearful, or intimidated. As they reached the summit, with the mist below them, the peaks all around them, and the sun above them, their hearts were full of pride and joy." About the second slogan I'll tell you with my next mail because I don't want to bother you to read a long mail.