From there we walked, first through
fairly well to do middle class
neighborhoods, but they quickly gave way to absolutely squalid low
stilt houses in lanes of trash. Scott had lent me a pair of galoshes
and, even though they were several sizes too small, I was thankful for
them. We squelched through puddles and across heaps of trash. Scott
knew every child there, and he knew their families and living
situations. He could point out a particular child and, after enthusing
on that child's merits, he would add commentary on their
"The mother there is pure evil, alcoholic. Beats the kids. Demands
money for us to take the kids back after she yanks them out of the
orphanage so they can earn her money for wine." At one
stopped at, he talked with a small girl in Khmer for a bit and then
made a call on his cell phone. "Somethings not right here. She's one of
our best student and she's not in school and she won't let me see
inside." Poverty,alcoholism, malnutrition, child abuse, and worse
things. These are the living conditions here.
He introduces me to one child, tiny, tiny, too tiny, and says "Her
father died last year. It was the best thing that could have happened
for the family." Scott show no remorse for those who have put these
children in harm's way.
The stench is overwhelming. Ducks, chickens, dogs and children all
forage off of the ground. We are not yet in the dump. Scott points out
a small, fetid pond, which looks more like an overgrown puddle. "They
catch fish out of there." I can't imagine anything being able to
Outside of one of the houses, in a narrow alley, I stoop down to talk
to one of the little girls.. She is mute, expressing none of the knee
jerk happiness that I have seen in so many of the Cambodian
Down in the mud between her feet she pokes at the broken end of some
Many of the children have prominent scars, on their arms and chests.
Burn scars. Parents punish their children with lit cigarettes.
also points out the hammocks filled with sleeping men and the groups of
men gambling at cards. "They laze away the day while the women
kids are out working."