Battambang – Cambodia


Battambang province. North West Cambodia. I am near the border of Thailand, in the commune of Samlot. The meeting just started. A young man who is 22 years old and three young women in their twenties joined the meeting. We are under a wodden house built on stilts. It hot. We are sitting on one of those large wodden beds that almost every Cambodia house has. Around us, bushes, no fields, the forest that is long gone and in the distance the mountains that separate Cambodia from Thailand. Just a border line and probably a twenty years development jump from here.
These young man and women are shy. They do not know what to aswer to our questions. They do not try. I try the few words of Khmer I know to reduce the barrier and it helps. We ask about their work as community representatives who go and meet their elected Commune councillors. They are shy and smile. I start to ask about the main problems of the village, even though I just need to look around me and I cans see many of them. I yoiung girl, maybe three yeasr old dressed with a very old cotton pijama joined the conversation and is looking at me without smiling. I think at the time when we were living in Kampong Thom and we had Olga who was one year old. She had a coupel of time high flue and we travelled to Phnom Penh to brign her to the private medical practice becasue in Kampong Thom there was no real doctor. What do parnets do here wehen they kids get hill? We are in the middle of nowhere. 3 hours on a jeep on a very bumpy road to Battambang and 5 more to Phnom Penh. How do they do when they children get sick? There are health centres but they not always open. And even when they are open there is almost no medicines. I want to stop to ask my questions since I feel I am stealing their time, while they should be heliping at home with work to support their families. We make the meeting short. Walk out in the heat of the late morning and get in the car. My day goes on. Their day as well.I just had a glimpse of it.

1 Comment

  1. Jean-Christophe says

    Thank you Arnaldo for sharing this story! jean-christophe

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