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Blogs / Professional Fellows Exchange Program / Time flies in Decatur

Time flies in Decatur

Thongvone Sosamphan, Laos

Organizing Grantee: ICMA

YSEALI Theme: Civic Engagement

Host: City of Decatur, GA

It is so true that when someone said the more you know, the more you don’t know. I must confess that the first two days at the orientation session in D.C proved me that my basic knowledge about US governance was nothing but zero.  However it is definitely helpful because it made my first day at the city of Decatur to go smoothly and made sense right at the start.


In Decatur, wherever Ngan, Vietnamese fellow and I go, people will greet us with smile and ask how are y’all doing?- I found this is very special and Southern, and I salute those who are able to pronounce and remember our unfamiliar names.

Casie and Lena did really really great work to smoothly get our feet wet and I’d to thank them for their hard work and patience. During the first week, we met with numerous people at the city management hall with different departments, public work, fire station with ride along, Global Growers Network and participated in several events. What I like most is that I got to learn various topics, not just about supporting people with disability which is the case study I am focusing on, but able to participate and witness the discussion of emerging problems like race and racism, learn how the city is trying to develop action plan to improve the issue, learn from the training for policemen on how to handle people with autism, promoting active living lifestyle, all in all how the city is creating the better and better for living.

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Lena Steven, Project Manager to Public Work Department, explaining to us how the city respond to emergency at the accident site
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Together with Casie Yoder, Public Information Officer, we participated in Leadership Cricle meeting 

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Autism Awareness Training for First Responders

The homestay during the weekend with American people is really something I love. Lena, Sree and Lola were very kind enough to host me at their place. This is really a golden opportunity to learn more about American culture and informal English and Indian culture as a bonus.  And God, They own a very beautiful house! 

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Lena and Sree, my wonderful host.          Lola