by Rithy, Cambodia
I felt so very impressive on the kind of learning process of Mekong Peace Journey 2011(MPJ), especially this Internship Program which could experience my life in the context of peace building in community, country and regional level by starting firstly in building inner peace for myself. At the first I did not realize myself who has chance to learn about peace among Mekong region as my Economics background.
During two months and half, I have been placed Essan(Surin, Sisaket) with Essan Community Forest, Easthern (Rayong province) with Rak Khao Chamao Preservation Group, Bangkok city with Thai Volunteer Service Foundation (TVS), and Southern part (Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat) with Peace Witness Volunteer Project (PWVP). I have learnt many things from various Organizations in practical way in various issues such as forest preservation, environment, economy, politic situation, democratic system, life style, education system, etc. At the first trip, I have question for myself that “I apply for this internship in the purpose of learning about Peace Building, but when I come here, I did not focus much about war or conflict directly, so how and what the relation between those kinds of problem to peace building”. Actually, if I talk about Peace, I will think of the conflict or war but it was not right at all; Peace does not focus on only one issue Conflict or war but it is the daily problem such as environmental, political, religion, education, justice, especially the living standard of people which we cannot deal only one problem and we said we have peaceful country. My definition of Peace is we need to see the living standard of people whether they have happiness what they get and what they still need to live peacefully. Even there is no war in the country but we need to see the social justice and the real happiness of the people.
Moreover, along the whole trip beside learning the above issues, one another important thing is we the three-interns have learnt the very valuable lesson from each other which other Mekong friend have no much chance like us to go together in the purpose of overcoming all kind of missed understanding, prejudice, stereotype which came from ‘historical biases’. We went together anytime anywhere we placed even eating and sleeping. I found that the theory is word easy to say but hard to practice, it is very different. Sometime, we said ‘please do not discrimination the other but one day one time you have discrimination to the other with unknown’. So what I am going to do with this unknown attitude that affected to other, it will be daily Self-reflection. You know? What I did wrong is not very important but whether I realized what I did is wrong or right to others.
Furthermore, since I have joined this program of MPJ and internship, I am getting to know myself more and more with the real practice of internship in Thailand for two months and half from what I have learnt in MPJ 2011 as theory. I am getting to learn from inside myself more which is the most beautiful thing and all people should learn from themselves more and more than learning from outside, but learning from inside seems not too easy and so interesting for people. Isn’t it? Because we cannot see ourselves; what we saw is our shadow. So who are we? Who are you? Who I am? How can I see myself? My both eyes can see the very far things but cannot even my nearest nose which is close to itself. The beautiful thing that I and all people have to learn is to Dialogue with ourselves, Read ourselves to get self-understanding because the most beautiful learning is not from out-side ourselves, it will be Learning from inner-side called Self-understanding. I think it will be useless to get to know many things outside yourself but did not know who you are. Let’s Start together to Read and Dialogue with Ourselves! All in all, this internship provided me the value exploration in both out-side and inner-side. It have space for me to see real practice after MPJ to strengthening mutual understanding between Thailand and Cambodia, meanwhile I also have time to build strong relation with my interns-mate from Vietnam and Laos. If I did not have that chance to move to the real practice, I might still not be able to overcome those kinds of root cause of conflict among Thailand-Cambodia and other Mekong countries, so it will be just the Theory in Mind.
Peace is what we all need to kn0w and apply in any environment and every breath of Life!
One another part of the interesting learning process in my internship inspiring me to go back for one-year Volunteer
Staying with Rak Khao Chamao Preservation which is the youth group, I felt I found my real life which was the inspiring group to give me life inspiration and understand me more what life is. There were three main interesting issues I have learnt the most are Alternative education, Local Wisdom and Life inspiration. Nowadays, mainstream education is being followed from generation to generation. The mainstream education is not realizing students to see the real value of learning, knowledge, and what they will and can do with their talent. Actually, most of parents are forcing their children to learn through to the most need of job market which is the most popular subject to get a good job working in Big company, not only parents but also youth themselves, they do not know where their goal is, their talent and what they want to be, even before and after graduated from university because they followed the mainstream education. Moreover, the education nowadays is very competition lacking of culture of sharing, helping and trying as much as to be power person with competition which is similar doing business in economic zone to be the richer killing each other because of money.
Miss Mali: Alternative educational Teacher volunteer said that “I have been working as alternative teacher in Rak Khao Chamao group for 2 year already, and I feel very excited to work with children. The way of teaching is free, what the children want to learn and do, I just help and follow them considering the children is the learning center so I felt I am not the teacher because I have learnt from them as well. I really like this learning process which children can see the value of learning doing what they want through their talent; not being forced to do this or do that, less competition increasing culture of sharing, helping each other, and they will have self-sufficiency or dependence for their life. So I hope all parents and other sector will see the core value of alternative education which should be included into formal education at school”
Moreover, Local Wisdom is another thing to realize me to see the core value of community knowledge as Local Wisdom which can help people to have self-reliance what they can do in their community; no need to work outside they can sustain their life. Moreover, it can keep the community knowledge from generation to generation. Actually, young people in community did not care much about the knowledge in their community which they can learn easily with parent or relatives. They are trying to go out to the city to find job but they forget the nearby knowledge and job themselves to sustain their life even they cannot get the high education or good job in city. From these I can see that the effective way of learning, it does not mean we can work in a big company getting more money but it is the knowledge we learnt and we can apply in daily to sustain our life. Furthermore, the both points of Alternative education and Local Wisdom is the best way of effective education which should be included into formal education of education system nowadays, and all parents and youth themselves should understand the core value of alternative or informal education and local wisdom.
Additionally, staying and learning from this group of each member, I found that they very strong knew who they are, finding what they want to do and come up with the same question for their life “what kind of life would you like?” By seeing the way they work in community as volunteer with their heart without forcing and understand their role in society, it become my life inspiration to come out with compassion and willingness to find what kind of life that I want and what should I do as the cell of society to help my community. In fact, the role of their work is volunteerism but they feel happy what they doing without thinking much about money and trying to help their community.
In fact, the role of their work is volunteerism but they feel happy what they doing without thinking much about money and trying to help their community. Therefore, all things that I have learnt from this group is not only to empower young people or children and to build Happiness in community but also doing what they all want to do to help society by their good heart, and show up the life that they want to see in future. I feel so interested in their way of working in community to mobilize people building Community Happiness, and this kind of attitude inspires me to walk into this way of life.
P’ Fab, coordinator of Rak Khao Chamao group, said that “Rak Khao Chamao group is already created 17 years in this 2011 with the beginning of very small activities during free time at my hometown in community with children and I saw them is very active to participate such as collecting Cabbage in the forest. Then, I decided to drop out my university and continued my activities with children because the university did not give me any knowledge of community but while I was doing activities in community I could learn from community; knowledge get from practice and questions. The interesting point is the issue getting more which encouraged me to be more active and who was donor, they saw the importance of my activities so they came to support. Moreover, at the first I also challenged with my parents too, they did not support me but from time to time I trying to show what I were doing is right through what I want to do, my parents were getting to know until now they absolutely support me. Additionally, I satisfy to help young people and my community building happiness. I hope young people will understand the core value of basic knowledge in community to sustain their life, have life skill and no matter where they work, they have good heart to help their community and society” All things that I have learnt from this group is not only to empower young people or children and to build Happiness in community but also doing what you all want to do to help society by your good heart, and show up the life that you want to see in future. I feel so interested in your way of working in community to mobilize people building Community Happiness, and this kind of attitude inspires me to walk into this way of life.
Therefore, I decide to write a letter to certify myself showing what I have learnt from them and my intention to be Volunteer. Below is my detail of the Letter to Rak Khao Chamao Youth Group in Rayong province, Thailand:
Download the file: Letter of one-year internship as Volunteer
Download the file: Report for Internship program (7 Feb 2011) Final