By: Lyda NGIN
May 4, 2016
It’s has been a week, since I arrived here in Missoula, Montana (a Spanish word means mountain). Believe it or not, I’ve been experiencing various things every single day including, walking by the beautiful river, hitch hiking to the “L” mountain to witness the wonderful view of Missoula, the Glacial River back about 4,000 years ago, cycling along the road under a beautiful sunshine and colorful flowers, the incredible history of the Mansfield – from the mine man to the Mind Man, the garage sales, May Day, the valuable and significant sessions from different talented speakers, and last but not least, the very warmth and welcoming dinner at a local Missoulian’s family. Specifically, for today, there were two incredible things I have learned and they do worth my life memory. The first one was in the professionalism category, while the other one was a very meaningful part of the U.S cultural experience.
“Fundraising is saving lives,” this is what I’ve learned from the morning session on The Effective Fundraising by Ms. Susan Hay Partrick, the Chief Executive Director of the United Way. During the very dynamic and lively session, Susan has given and taught us the 20 golden tips on how to get funding to support individuals and families, who are physically and mentally unable to save themselves. Aside of the very clear explanation of every tip, she did end up building us, the YSEALI participants, not only one of the very useful skill, but the confident, which is extremely necessary for us the talented individuals and the new generation of leaders to hype our work in order to benefit those are in need. When I said the new generation of leaders, it’s because leaders are those who are willing to help others human beings, and each of us here in the YSEALI program does have this very strong intention to support and to change this world to a better place. We want to see peace, happiness and love spreading everywhere on this planet. To do this, we need to start from our family, community and country.
The second part that exciting me the most today was the opportunity to have dinner with one of a new Missoulian friends at his house, Steve. Me and another YSEALI friend (Oshi), spent about 20 minutes cycling to Steve’s house. On the way, we saw so many nice sceneries counting, mountains, (of course this is Montana), different trees with diverse colors of leaves and flowers, the forest and river. It was fresh, beautiful and wonderful. We made it to Steve’s house around 6:30pm, while he was building his small cottage in the yard behind his house. Steve is a single father of two children, and a very talented carpenter. He used to visit Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia before and he is so much in love and very curious about Southeast Asia. He wanted to hear and see everything about Asia, and luckily, I love to share about things to my friend too. At his house, we made our first cooking time, after a week in Missoula and having all our meal times in the restaurant – I love cooking. With all the ingredients available, Oshi and I managed to make an Asian fried noodle and a mushroom soup. It was very delicious and we loved it! We had a pretty fun and great outdoor dinner with the very interesting conversation about altered issues in Montana, Cambodia and Thailand. It was an enjoyable moment and it made me feel like home. The other things that impressed a lot was the collective community of the Missoulian. Not only Steve that was very friendly, but all the neighbors. Everyone seem to know each other, they were very welcoming and always smiling toward us. This is totally different when I’m back home in the city, Phnom Penh, that everyone is so busy and barely has time to talk with their neighbors.
After all, I would say these experiences makes me love Missoulians even more. It has showed how delightful the feeling is through the strong connection of relationship and love that these people have and give to each other. It also helped clearing my doubt that there are many more nice people are existing on earth and it does give me the positive energy to go on and doing what I want to for my society, as I believe, I have so many incredible people who are just there with me and willing to give me hands and willing to make the positive change to their communities, country and the world like me. This kind of act has made this world a beautiful place. I have figured out that “I am not ALONE.”