My First Cambodian Story

It’s not really mine, but belongs to a neighbour/friend.

In just over a month I am moving to Cambodia to live and work for nine months.  I would love to be going back to East Timor, but at this stage, for employment and experience purposes, Timor doesn’t offer the same opportunities.  For starters, Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF), who have employed me, are not based in East Timor.

At this stage Cambodia is very much “the unknown”, but I’m trying to read what I can, MSF have sent me screeds upon screeds of employment related information, and of course Google is always your friend where the unknown is concerned.

This afternoon I bumped into a neighbour and told her of my Cambodia plans.  She reminded me that our other neighbour has strong connections in Cambodia.  I had completely forgotten this, and it jolted my memory about a story that she told me about a year ago.  It’s worth sharing here.

The father of this particular family is a tuk-tuk driver, and the children all go to school. My neighbour assists the family, she’s purchased them new tin for a roof on their shack so that it no longer leaks during rain (leaking roofs are a very common problem in tropical countries where millions of people live in makeshift shacks).  She also contributes school fees for the kids, and other things. They are a very humble family though, and have accepted her assistance with some reluctance (only after coming to know her very well when she lived in Cambodia for two years).

Last year their 13yo daughter was hit by a car and broke her leg. She was rushed to hospital on a wooden plank carried by some men. The leg needed to be plastered, in order to straighten it back into position. However, because of the cost of plastering, doctors recommended amputation, because the family could afford this, and letting it set in the crooked position would have caused pain and immobility equal to amputation (which was far cheaper than plastering it).

A family friend contacted my neighbour and told her the story, and she managed to contact them in time, and forward the money for the cost of having the girl’s leg plastered.

This website is likely one of many giving a glimpse into some of the problems in Cambodia, and some of the work being done towards making positive change.



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