December 2023
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Submitted by Cathie McIntyre (ACS)

Here’s a bit about my experiences in Cambodia.

After spending much money and time attempting to meet Vietnam’s requirements to be a volunteer in late 2013 and early 2014, I gave up on Vietnam. I was scheduled to volunteer with Hue Help, which suffered a devastating loss of volunteer help until the Vietnamese government came to their senses and made requirements more reasonable.

I went to Cambodia instead, where I volunteered at an orphanage. The work and conditions were miserable, and after two weeks I wanted to quit. But I’m not a quitter and decided to stick it out. After six weeks, I threw in the towel.

The evening I left the orphanage, I talked to several acquaintances, and within 24 hours, was offered two paying jobs! After asking questions, reading about the work, and sleeping on it, I thought for two days and accepted the better offer on the third day. I worked for an NGO, writing a 12th-grade textbook for Cambodia’s Ministry of Education. I finished the project in August 2015 and returned to the US.

Now I will return to Cambodia to re-connect with friends I have made and to have the simple life that I want — no car, delicious restaurant food at prices I can readily afford, living in a hotel or small apartment, etc. If the NGO has a project for me, that would be great. Otherwise, I will experience retirement and will travel to Laos and Myanmar, where I have not yet been.

I really love Cambodia, its culture, and it’s people.

The high level of corruption is maddening, but I am not part of that. I just don’t like to see the extreme poverty caused by the greedy.

If you come visit, I will show you my favorite parts of Phnom Penh and Kep and Siem Reap.


  • Barbara L Parker

    You are a brave lady . Even knowing what you really want is incredible to me.

    Good luck to you,


  • Laurie Methven

    Thanks for sharing. I long to get to SE Asia sometime and visit, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Burma and Thailand. I lived in Laos, Vietnam and Thailand but haven’t been back. I so remember the beauty of Laos (and Vietnam when you were out of war areas such as Dalat or the Beach whose name is escaping me right now). Some day I hope.

  • Frank

    Cathie, you are amazing. You set the standards for us Saigon Kids. I beg you to arrange your life so you can come to the Saigon Kid’s 2017 Reumion. After all, I owe you a bottle of red wine!! I would so much be up to drink it with you! Take care Girl, Frank

  • Cathie McIntyre

    Barbara, Laura, and Frank,
    I don’t know how it happened, but I missed your posts! So let me update you. I am living in Phnom Penh, where I continue to enjoy the simple life. I love Cambodia and the people. I am back at the same NGO and am currently working full-time. My colleagues are half my age or even younger, and they are all delightful. I will stay here until May and the will return to NC for about five weeks. In late June I will head to Belgrade where my Serbian « daughter » is being married. I will continue my dog rescue work in Jagodina, Serbia, until end of September. That lets me avoid Cambodia’s rainy season, help some dogs find forever homes, enjoy the summer bounty of Serbian fruits and vegetables, re-connect with my Serbian friends, and visit some parts of Europe. By October 2018, I will be back in Phnom Penh.

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