Your Excellencies, Special International Guests from QSA

February 25th 2011
Published: March 6th 2011
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Our itinerary was rearranged before we came so we could be in Pursat for their IWD celebration and trade fair. We were told we needed to dress properly, ie. long trousers and shoulder coverings and that Jane was giving a speech on behalf of QSA, but little did we know what was in store. We arrived at the DWA centre at 4 and was told they would take us to the fair. Then suddenly our buses were part of a motorcade with politicians and other VIP's going to the fair. When we arrived everyone was standing to attention and we were ushered up to take our place on the stage. We were the only foreigners except the USAID director in Cambodia and another aid worker who walked into the wrong part and got put up on the stage. It's good to know I have contributed so much to QSA that my work has finally been recognised. But modest as I am I took it quietly.

The crowd included what looked like boy scouts and girl guides as well as veterans, farmers and the community. There were lots of self congratulatory speeches with lots of your excellencies, the director of this or the special representative for that and the special international guests from QSA. Except for Jane's speech which explained the role QSA had played in supporting DWA over the years. Then a special ribbon was cut and the fair was opened.

The DWA had a stall as had lots of other NGOs. There was also the usual country fair stuff: clothes and food and bits and pieces, Vet services, agricultural tools and services and USAID, the funder as part of its Small Business Development program.

But wait that's not all. Then we go to the party back at the DWA centre. We were at the VIP tables. More and more food came and toasting with the VIP Cambodians. Then we get dragged out, me first, to start the traditional Khymer dancing. I love dancing but not with 100 sets of eyes watching you make a fool of yourself trying to look graceful. Everybody eventually joined in and fun was had by all but I am traumatised for life.

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