In this weeks in Across the Water, Martin Grant talks to Natasha McAvinney, originally from Dromiskin, now living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
I am originally from Dromiskin.
Parents names and names of family?
Parents are Martin and Jacqui McAvinney, siblings: Liza, Paul and Martin McAvinney
When did you leave and why?
I left in May 2013 to gain field experience in the area of development
What’s your occupation?
Education Officer for The Scoop Foundation
What’s the biggest difference in settling into your new home?
Living in a rural village outside Phnom Penh provides its challenges, so it would have to the language difference.
Is the social life much different from home?
Yes, my social life is much different. There is less chance to attend music gigs but I still attend the cinema and socialise with my friends in the local haunts
How do you like to relax?
I usually leave village life behind on a Friday and trade it in for some air conditioned environment with some internet access to keep in touch with my family and friends.
Have you been home since leaving and what changes have you noticed?
No, I haven’t returned to Ireland since leaving in May.
What’s the best and worst things about being away from home?
The best thing is enjoying discovering more about the Khmer culture and the kids that I work with in my school. It is really satisfying to know that we are making a difference to the lives of the local community here in Som Roung. The worst thing is missing my family and friends.
Have you plans in the future to return home to Ireland for good?
I plan to return to Ireland in November.
Name one thing from home that you wish you could buy in your local store?
Some Annagassan batch bread with some Dairygold butter for toast.
Have you a message for your friends and family?
Home is where the heart is and I will be home pretty soon.