“The village void is the place where the seen meets the unseen; where the corners of your mosquito net wrinkle and the spots where the dogs’ barks ricochet. The void is that place you go where you don’t know where you are or who you are. The void. It’s where the dirt from the ground meets the dirt in the air meets your eyes, your eyelashes, your tears, your breath. The void is where your mind sleeps and walks for hours; where the sin of sloth meets serendipitous suns of power. It’s where your toes bleed and your elbows itch. The void is where your soul stretches and where it hurts and where it grows–whispering to you the things you already know but are too scared to see. The void is neither here nor there nor up nor down….
The void is you. The void is yours.”
– The Voiders Liz Ramirez & John Herse (Cambodia RPCVS, K9 Cohort) in their zine “The Village Void”
Since I began writing to you, I’ve gone to great-ish lengths to fold my Cambodian experience into topics of appreciable cultural significance and splendor. With our completion of service on the horizon, though, I’m fearful of missing the (palm) trees for the (blog) forest. These posts are lifted from the journals I’ve kept here. These posts are heavy on the words, skinny on the photos, and should hopefully exhibit the wonderful and terrible fact that there is no “typical day” in the village. In them I did my best to capture the gems and the rotten bits alike, the moments that have made the village struggle of worth and import, the little exchanges that have made me feel both more and less human, more and less a part of something bigger.
All the italicized dialogue is translated from Khmer.
Love you all the time,
The Early Days: Pre-Service Training
Singapore & The Beginning of It All
Permanent Site: K___ P__ Village in Takeo Province
Day 63 – Get Thee to a Health Center
Day 71 – Permissions & Rubberbands
Day 85 – Kumbaya & A Stomach Bug
Day 165 – 100 Days of Death & A Puppy
Day 221 – The Cow Climbs the Mountain (The Cow is I)
Day 419 – Frustration & Fish Powder
Day 437 – Bronzed Backs of Old Men
Day 491 – The U.S. Health Company
Day 508 – I Giveth Thee Thy Daily Plans
Day 510 – Stepping On, Picking Out Glass
Day 514 – You Can Check Out But You Can Never Leave
Day 533 – Happy, Dirty New Year
19 thoughts on “The Village Void”