by Greg Hamlin
Greg and Sheila Hamlin are in the first year of study and work in Cambodia. This story is from his March report sent today.
SIEM REAP, Cambodia (BNc)- Our greatest obstacle is the Khmer language. We simply must learn how to communicate to these people if we are going to be really effective.
Sheila and I study daily with different tutors. She is learning oral Khmer, and I am working toward reading and writing the language.
Recently I wanted to get the car fixed. I had to write down my list of repairs in English, give the list to Phanat to translate into Khmer orally (he speaks but doesn’t read or write), then to his assistant Aya who wrote the list in Khmer.
I took the list to the mechanic where about six young apprentices were. Initially, none could make out the Khmer since they couldn’t read, only speak it.
A little girl there finally was able to translate orally for them. They promptly and efficiently began to tear down the engine into “thousands” of parts.
Two-hundred and twenty dollars was not a bad price for everything but it took a long trail of communication to get there!