By Duth Kimsru,
Today’s dress code is Business. We all wear accordingly, but it’s too cold to just show up our business dress. Turn out, warm clothes have become our daily dress regardless of business, business casual or casual. Alsoit’s the last day for our fellows with the host families. We feel very grateful to have the privilege to stay with them even in a short period of time. Time flies and I can’t believe that two weeks is like a quick moment to remember in life. I wish I could pay my host family’s kindness, if not directly to them but someone else who might come across my life with the similar situation in a similar way. I learned to host, one of the best hosts I have received! We are still in Missoula, so it’s still possible to see our host families before our real last day in this small, but rich in knowledge town. So it’s not a goodbye yet, it’s a “see you gain.”
We headed from Holiday Inn to Helena, the capital city of Montana with a small population size, around 30,000 people. It’s as hilly as Missoula, but at a higher level from the ground. Our first meeting was at Montana Conversation Voters (MCV) non-profit organization helps raising voice to the public to address environmental issues through voting for candidates that support their mission. I am very much appreciated when MCV representative that we met demonstrate his role model in thinking about environmental impact from the individual level. He said, “He doesn’t buy gold because mining has negative impact on environment.” It’s important to think about as a responsible global citizen that our individual act could impact the hold world. As my host family advise me when I am talking about issues in Cambodia! It’s big yet, “one step at a time could create change.” That’s the concept of behavioral change for the benefit of greater society.
We also had a great chance to meet Montana Lieutenant Governor and Education Policy Advisor to the Governor, Ms. Angela McLean and Ms. Siri Smillie respectively. Some of us met Ms. Angela yesterday when she introduced Mr. Thomas E. Perez, United States Secretary of Labor in the “Defining a 21st Century Education for a Vibrant Democracy” yesterday. She is such a great public speaker. I was moved by her speech and wish to meet her again. I can’t believe that today, we have schedule with her and we chatted for more than an hour. She has very powerful voice, like a military commander. She gives us a chance and each of us talked a lot about our countries’ issues. Yet, things are getting better and we hope that we could positively influence individual life through our work areas. The closing message for us from Ms. Angela is, “to keep fighting for the good fight.” Every developed country has gone through similar situation that our countries are facing right now. Hence, we could also thrive and bring better future for those who deserve to live well.
The day was ended with a nice dinner and toasted Masmalo round fire at Jeff and Vicky’s house. The family used to host my big brother, Yut who was also in the program in 2014. It was very fun, talking and eating! Almost all of us asked for chilies; we love spicy food. Food does mobilize people. After dinner we went on continue to toast masmalo around fire. Some of us made masmalo and chocolate sandwich. It’s best to complement cold with warm fire gathering. We listened to stories told by Cambodian fellows, the ones seem to talk a lot for the day!