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Internship in Cambodia (Week 6)

Posted by Shannon Morton '17

January 17, 2017

Category: Student Blogs


week6-1.jpgMy final week!

While I was sick I was pretty ready to be going home, but now that I am well again and can actually leave the house I am back in the spirit that there is so much to do and see. I think it is good to leave on a good note though and I got to do a lot this last week.

I visited the Toel Soleng, better known in the States as the S21 prison, where thousands were tortured and killed during the Khmer Rouge regime. This was something I had been putting off, but like the Killing Fields, I felt like I couldn’t come to Phnom Penh without visiting it.

My work took me out to lunch as a thank you, although due to some miscommunication the CEO that I had been working under was not there.

Friday, Anastasia and I had a great night out in the city. We started off in the afternoon visiting the National Museum. It was mostly old Buddhist statues from as early as the 7th century, but I was surprised to also see a WWI display from Cambodians who fought alongside the French. Then, we shopped around a bit and got dinner. After that, we saw a dance performance by the Cambodian Living Arts. Cambodian Living Arts is a NGO founded by a Cambodian refugee who grew up in America and later returned to revive the traditional arts that had almost been lost when the Khmer Rouge killed 90% of the artists during their regime. Since these arts are taught in person and nothing was written down, he provided a salary for the surviving artists to teach the next generation. Apparently they have three different performances that rotate throughout the week, but we saw one with traditional tribal dances. To conclude the night, we walked along the riverside to the Night Market for any last minute gifts.

Saturday morning I got a massage before leaving for the airport at 11. The massage was wonderfully relaxing and included a facial. After, I decided to grab lunch to avoid the airport food. I got back to the house a little before 11 and the tuk-tuk driver I had ordered was already there. That was the moment I realized my ultimate blunder- I forgot to budget cash for the ride to the airport! I had just spent my last $5 on a sandwich and planned to use my debit card as I got back to places that utilized such a modern convenience. To make matters worse, the tuk-tuk driver actually showed up with a car, which I can only imagine was because he wanted to charge a higher price. I happened to have $4 in ones left in my purse and 50 cents (2,000 riel) in change from the sandwich for a ride that was usually $7, and that was with a tuk-tuk. Going to the ATM would have been too time consuming and the ATM fee is $5. So the point of the story is, I have discovered the key to bargaining- have no money. I had to wander down the street with all my luggage and ask three drivers but I found someone willing to take me for $5 (I got a 2,000 riel donation from Anastasia).

I am currently sending this from my (North Carolina) home so everything has worked out and all around it has been a wonderful trip. Still, I happy to be home and excited to see everyone!

 


 

Before each dance was a description of what it represented.  

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This started off depicting a fight between good and evil but then they joined together to form this snake like figure that is outside of a lot of the temples.

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 The Peacock Dance I think the costumes were the best part of the whole show.

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This was the fishing dance (these aren't the official names), which was one of my favorites.

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Catawba senior Shannon Morton of Millington, Md. is a double major in Economics & Finance and Accounting.  An honors student, she is working on a thesis on microfinance and economic development with Dr. Eric Hake, professor of economics and chair of the Department of Business, serving as the chair for her thesis committee, along with Drs. Norris Feeney (professor of politics) and Buster Smith (professor of sociology). In the summer, Shannon mentioned to Dr. Hake that she wanted to pursue international travel associated with her honors thesis in order to do research.  She researched, found, and applied for a program entitled UBELONG on her own.  The Ketner School of Business and Honors program provided her with some financial support and her international experience in Cambodia began on December 4 and will continue through January 14.