RealJobs: Meaghan Battle

Today was relaxed, and unusually for us, pretty similar to yesterday. I started the day outside the office at a meeting with a technical advisor for another reproductive NGO in Cambodia. She’s based in Phnom Penh but our program collaborates with their branch here, so we met to check in about how our teams were working together and discus future partnership opportunities. Having pre-existing relationships with other NGOs helps us connect women to the best possible medical care, so we do our best to have open communication with many healthcare providers in the area.

Our team spent the rest of the morning in the office, reviewing our new lesson plans, and especially getting our interns to practice presenting their assigned sections for Thursday’s workshop. I never realized how much classroom discussions and presenting papers throughout high school and college prepared me to talk in front of a group until I saw how uncomfortable and lost our interns are when we ask them to teach. They’re both bright and friendly, but they have never been taught about public speaking: talking slowly and clearly, making eye contact and asking questions back to their audience, gauging the mood and adjusting to meet it, tying different points together. So we practice a lot — many times before each workshop, and even more before new ones like this week.

After an hour of review, the interns went by moto to check in with leaders in a village an hour away about upcoming programs there, and Chum and I reviewed the previous week’s finances. Two female staff from other programs on the church compound stopped by, one with a specific health question, another wanting to talk about her new boyfriend. I love having the flexibility to be able to chat with them as things come up, and I’m so happy that they feel free and comfortable to come by our office for advice and friendship.

In the afternoon, Chum and I went to by moto to visit women in the village. Our first stops were the homes of our interns, since we try to check in with their families on a regular basis. Channa’s house was especially fun because we got to visit with her new baby brother (who still doesn’t have a name!) and see how her mom was holding up. She seemed happy and unfazed, which is understandable since this was her seventh child. We stopped by a few more houses and then finished up the day in the office, catching up on emails and reports.

Yesterday and today have ben pretty low-key for us, which is a nice change from weeks when we’re in villages far away for two or three days in a row. It’s great to be around the compound and available to women as issues arise. We hope that when Theary, our co-coordinator who is currently on maternity leave, returns in March, we’ll be able to have staff in the office or nearby village full-time, and send a different team out to run programs farther away each day. In the meantime, we’re splitting our time and enjoying being present to the ups and downs of life in this village.

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