Monday, September 5, 2011

Hella way to Start the Day

By Fiz

So it was bad enough that I had to wake up to an alarm clock after this past weekend, which you will read about in the next post.  Waking up was made worse because I knew I was getting up for school.  Little did I know that my morning was going to get much, much worse.

I got out of the packed Tuk Tuk in front of the university where our classes are held, with a huge bag of laundry to get done.  So off I went with Charles, a classmate who needed to get his clothes cleaned as well, to the Lazy Gecko Guesthouse.  A guesthouse with a reasonably priced lunch, and even cheaper laundry services.

We were talking about what a great time we had last weekend when all of a sudden we see a motor bike zoom past us then very loudly crash into something. We both spun around to see what had happened.  That something was a little boy who wasn’t even as tall as my hip.  All I saw was the child go flying through the air and the motor bike driver gun it and zoom off. 

There was a moment when everyone, us included, started yelling at the driver, cursing him, and screaming for him to stop.  Then the whole street’s attention turned to the boy cringing in the street.  His nose looked broken, he was bleeding from his teeth, and he was scraped from head to toe, his legs worst of all.  An older woman rushed up and scooped him up into her arms after making sure nothing was broken.  We saw the Tuk Tuk driver who gave us a ride to class, and asked someone to tell the woman she could take the Tuk Tuk to the hospital on our dime.  She said no, I couldn’t imagine why she didn’t want it.

We went to the guesthouse and gave them our laundry.  On our way back to the university one of the English speakers on the street thanked us for our concern and told us that an ambulance was called to take the child and his mother to the hospital.

All I could really focus on the rest of the morning was this little child getting thrown, and the biker not even stopping.  I felt so helpless, all I could think to do was give his family some money for medicine.

On our lunch break I asked somebody to show me his family so I could give them $5.  I was not prepared for what came next.  First I was taken to a building that was still under construction, right across the street from where the child got hit.  Everyone stopped and looked at me, suspicious is the wrong word to describe their expressions, but it was more than curiosity.  Then from the second floor this young woman climbed down a ladder with a baby in one arm, and walked very shyly up to me. 

I was speechless.  Not only was she beautiful, she couldn’t have been much older than Kathleen.  All I could say was, “For your boy.”  As I held out the 5 dollars.  She took the money and bowed lightly and went back to work.

The Tuk Tuk driver I had been talking to told me that poor women, when they get left by their husbands, which happens with surprising frequency, have to go work construction jobs, and because they are poor, they have to bring their children with them because they can't afford child care.  He was very upset, he made a point to say that most Cambodian driver never hit and run, let alone hit a child and run.

“Its very sad.” He said, “I’m very poor, and these women are poorer than me.  It makes me very sad.”

Some days I just wish there was more that I could do.  So please send healing vibrations to the child, and prosperity wishes to his mother, and maybe collectively we can change a family's life.


  1. Very sad story. There are thousands more just like that one all around the world.

  2. Vann Nath - Cambodian painter who survived and depicted the horrors of the Khmer Rouge's S21 prison died today. :(

  3. It make you pause to think of the terrible conditions many people in the world have to deal with. My concerns are so so small compared to these people. Thank you for giving her the money. I hope it brings her some small relief

  4. some good news, it seems that there was a small mistranslation on the part of the Tuk Tuk driver, the child's father is still in the picture. he was working at the same construction site today. Charles was asking around for his mother, but since she wasn't there his father came up. which makes sense because it was him grilling me when i was asking for her yesterday.

  5. It was good to give the money anyway. I wonder what the father was thinking when you were asking to find his wife. Glad he's not the jealous type.