I think today was a lesson for me on why my sister is studying drama and I am not...but will definitely be remembered as one of my highlights and most entertaining moments in Phenom Penh, Cambodia. This afternoon, eight of us gathered in the cool AC relief of the office for Equal Access, the home of "We Can Do It," a popular youth radio program. Originally a community development project funded by the US State Department, Equal Access is now in partnership with UNICEF to record fun, innovative, and educational programs for ages 15-18. The program is recorded with several parts: interviews, drama skits, call-in question and answers, and contests to reach out to Cambodian youth about lifeskills, community awareness, HIV/Aids and drug education, and other important challenges faced by the huge youth population.

However we didn't just go to Equal Access to learn about their work...We became apart of it! After meeting with the Cambodian script writers, they proceeded to split us into groups to cycle through two stations, one to interview about our impressions of Cambodia and thoughts about youth challenges in our home country of the US, and one group to try a little script reading just like they do in their programs! Except in English of course. Who would have thought we'd end up in a Cambodia recording studio! All I can say is I hope our skits don't end up on YouTube. We might have laughed our way through, as we did our best to express the scenes of motherly love and tragic despair between our characters, but we knew that the ultimate message behind the dialogue was very important.

Overall, being able to visit an organization that is actively working with the Cambodian community today was an essential part of understanding their history. I feel like I will never be able to fully grasp the hardships faced by its people during the Khmer Rouge but now appreciate how far the country has come since then.

Taylor Sandelius


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Author Taylor Sandelius Posted

Program Southeast Asia Departure Spring 2009