Meerlia and Bruhn's Story

Interview With Meerlia & Bruhn

Hello. I am Meerlia. I like the color red. I like to play with picture puzzles. I like to eat cake, eat food. I am in the second grade. Yes, I enjoy school. I have two teachers. Their names are Titus and Chapanet.  I like to go for picnics at the Water Park, go to Sourn Santepeap,  and go to Kompot to swim.

Hello. I am Bruhn. I am 8 years old. I am in the first grade. I like the color yellow. I like to go to Kompot and to the Water Park and to Sourn Santepeap. I like to play at the park in front of the Royal Palace. I like to eat many kinds of food such as cake, delicious food. I don’t like to eat food that has no vegetable.

My sister loves me. She told me to change and to be a good boy. She loves me. She takes care of me. She told me to tell mom when I get sick. She takes care of me. She wants me to grow faster. She wants to love me as a brother and sister.

I love Bruhn. I want him to change and to not make mistakes. When he’s sick he needs to tell mom and dad, so they can take care of Bruhn when he’s sick. Bruhn likes to play soccer. It’s fun.

At our home, when it rained, the water flushed into the house. The house didn’t have floor mats – no pillows, no mattresses, no blankets. Under my house, it was full of mud. We lacked food. When there was no food, we went to pick water spinach and look for the snails in the pond. We didn’t have enough food to eat. There was a little. It was a hard life.

When you rice keep for long time, it spoils and you cannot eat it. There was no rice for cooking, no floor mat, no pillow, no blanket. We slept on a bamboo bed. And now that bed is broken. Father died and could not help. I lived with my older sister. She asked me to watch for the house for her and when I did that, when she came back she would give me one hundred riel (about 4 cents). I didn’t have rice to eat.

In the morning, we ate rice and also in the afternoon. It was hard. We had no money to buy food. When my sister went away for a long time, I was so hungry. When it was late in evening, then she came back.  Hungry. Yes, and scared. Scared that she would come back late in night time. I was five years old, when my father died.

Yes, I remember. Mom was sick. When she died, it was very difficult. My mom was sick for a long time. Sister took care of us. Sister helped raise us.

My older sister brought me to orphanage. Sophal asked her my name. And then my sister told her of name. I am happy to live here.  From the first day, I felt I wanted to live with mom. I wanted to live with mom and dad to raise me. I was happy and wanted to play with the toys and other stuff. The food tasted good. I wanted to live with mom and didn’t want to go back home. Living here make me happy.

I told Bruhn that I wanted to live in the orphanage. “I am happy and want to sleep here forever. I want to play with the other kids. I want go to school with them. Those children are nice. They love us.” Yes, they told me their stories. Some other kids told me that when they first came, they didn’t have a place to sleep; they slept on the floor.

I like sister Sreyka because she loves me more than others. I want to study with Sreyka.  I also love Pheaktra. When I sleep, he wants me to sleep close to him. He tells me not to make noise, and I obey him. He likes to give me food and we are kind with each other. We share things with each other. I want to be a teacher. I want to be a doctor. I like to play soccer. Playing soccer is to score a goal. Bring the ball close, and then kick it, kick it to the goal. I also like to play badminton, when one person passes it along to the other person.


Interview with Sophal, orphan home director

We work with orphaned children. A friend who works with World Vision  told me about two children who were living in a very difficult life. They were orphaned children. We went to see the two children and realized that it was true. We took their pictures.

When we first met with them, we saw they didn’t have clothes to wear or food to eat. When we were there, we saw them eat rice plastic bags with salty river shells.

They didn’t have clothes to wear. This is the picture of the girl. This is the picture of the boy. The girl also had no clothes to wear. She had only pair of pants. So we borrowed the clothes from their neighbor for them to wear to take the pictures. These are the pictures we took. We saw that these two children were living a life of struggle, so we took them to live here in orphanage.

When we took them to live with us – when they first arrived here – they were excited to live with us. Now, we have enrolled them to study. They have food and a place to sleep.

On the day we had visited their home, we found that their home had been sold to pay back the money that their mother had borrowed when she was sick. She returned the money that she owed. Now she lived with her sister. Her sister rented a home nearby that place. When we visited her, we saw that she lived with her sister. Now two of the children live with us today. 

When first time children came to live in our orphanage, it was July 1,2006 at 4:00 pm. We bathed them, combed their hair, and prepared food for them to eat. When they ate the food, tears fell from their eyes. They told us that they never had such food before. Before, they ate food from plastic bags. They had never had a spoon.

After they ate, they both sat separate from the others – quietly without talking to the other children. They felt lonely. We began to talk with them and comfort them. Later on, their faces started to smile. When we brought them toys, they were happy.

At night, they cried because they had never had a blanket to cover them at night. In our place, we have mattress, pillow and blanket for them. They cried because they remembered that when they were at home, they struggled. After that, they all slept. In the morning they a little bit quiet. Maybe they thought that we were strangers. They did not talk about any thing with us.

Bruhn first began to talk with us, but Meerlia did not talk. No matter how much we asked, she did not respond. When we talked to her, she cried. When we asked her, “Do miss home and want to go back home?” she told us “No”she didn’t want to go back home. She wanted to live here. She feels pity for her older sister. Her sister who lived with others didn’t have food to eat like them. We explained to her that sister is over the age to be accepted to live here. So we could not accept her sister.   

John McCollumComment