Letter from Cambodia

There was a big flood which occurs only once in a decade in Cambodia. Particularly the water level of Tonle Sap Lake rose and the houses at the riverside had big damages. There was no damage in Phnom Penh but in countryside the roads flooded, the houses were covered with water and the paddies got a huge damage just before the harvest season. TV showed the people sending the aids to the isolated villages. The water level is getting lower now but I worry about the people who lost the income source.

By Miyuki Asano (Kikuna Church, Yokohama Diocese)

<Women are motivated>
The business of sweet roti food stall is getting better as the children came back to school in October after the long school holiday in Cambodia. Mrs. Siwon (33) has joined the business. Her husband left her and four children to go to another woman last year and she has been working in a factory to raise the children. As she could not afford to pay the rent and to make a living, she borrowed money from many people to buy food. She used to moan to Mrs. Suleimau who lived in the same apartment about her problems. She got tired of listening to her story and introduced the food stall business to her. Then she started the business. Her eldest son is twelve years old and always came to "Children's house" to study with his youngest sister, two years old, as no one could look after her. She often cried and sulked144_09 during the lesson. Teachers said, "She is hungry because the family is poor and cannot afford to give her enough food since her father left home." Every time she cried they gave her the school lunch at the rear seat before lunch time. Her brother took very good care of her feeding her with the food and water, washing her pants which she had wetted and so on. In the evening he cooked rice and waited for his mother's coming back. I heard that he had come to ask the teachers for the rice support. The family was so poor that three children could not go to primary school during that time. In October they entered the public primary school and the eldest son could join the second year class.

Mrs. Siwon was tensed when she started the food stall training with Mrs. Suleimau. She was the third trainee this year. Other two trainees, however, quitted in three months after they had started the business. Mrs. Suleimau gave me the picture of her character, a person moaning a lot, and I thought she would quit the business soon. Contrary to my idea, however, she was skillful and could spread roti very well on the third day of her training. Some people cannot acquire the skill even after two weeks. She is cheerful and talkative. I always see her chatting with children at her food stall. She has a good relationship with her customers and increases the sales. Nowadays she sells out the roti the fastest and come back to the office. She can get more than eight Dollars a day when having sold it out. To pay back a debt, feed her children and send them to school she draws the heavy stall to sell roti even on Saturday and Sunday when schools are closed. She smiles and says, "I enjoy more working outdoor than staying at home because I can get refreshed." Of course some people may not be suited to business, but I think the motivation and the will of living by oneself are most important.
Mrs. Ben experienced DV, Mrs. Suleimau decided to divorce and Mrs. Siwon was left by her husband. Three of them are good friends and consult each other. They can drink, too. They say exciting, "We don't need men! We'll enjoy freely. Why not save money to play." But when a handsome guy passes by, they say, "He is nice!" I do not know their true idea. When I see the women who had hard time because their husbands drank and played all the time are now making effort to live firmly by themselves, I feel them very reassuring.
They could not finish even primary school due to the long lasting civil war. I am very glad to see that the food stall business is their first step to live their own lives. I appreciate your support.

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This page contains a single entry by jlmm published on December 25, 2011 5:00 PM.

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