Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Growing Up In Cambodia

9-year-old Sam Kim Visal from Stung Treng province aspires to be a doctor when he grows up.

Sam Kim Visal with his father Sam Sout in Stung Treng province.
© UNICEF Cambodia/2013/Reid
“My name is Sam Kim Visal. I am 9 years old. I go to Anuwat Primary School. I study in Grade 3. I live with mother and father and brother. My brother’s name is Sith and he’s 5 years old. I look after him too. This is Reachea Nukol village. I have lived here all my life and I’m happy. I like to visit my neighbour, my best friend Po Leu. He’s 8 years old but he goes to a different school.
I like school because I like learning. Mathematics is my favourite subject. I don’t like Khmer lessons because I’m not good at it. I don’t know why. I know some Khmer. I struggle with spelling. My classmate helps me with my spelling. I don’t have a best friend at school.

After school, my mother asks me to clean the house and I clean it. Sometimes she asks me to clean the dishes and I do it. And sometimes she asks my small brother to help me. I play with my little brother and sometimes we fight.

I go to school at 7 a.m. and sometimes I go to school at 6 a.m. For Khmer New Year, I went to the cashew nut plantation. We go to pray for the ancestors. It’s a holy place in the plantation. We stayed for only one day. We go every year to pray.

Sam Kim Visal, Stung Treng province
© UNICEF Cambodia/2013/Reid
My favourite thing is my necklace because I love it. My uncle who lives in Phnom Penh gave it to me. It’s not real gold. When I wear it I don’t feel comfortable, it itches me but I like it. I like playing car racing on my uncle’s telephone.

When I visit other people’s homes, it makes me happy. When I make mistakes at home like spilling water, I get told off by my father, this makes me sad. When I get older I want to become a doctor because I want to cure people. Some people get cold and I want to treat them. I get money when I pick cashew nut at the cashew nut plantation when my mother takes me there. If I had one wish, then I would wish for a big house – a villa.”

As told to Kimlong Sain and Angelique Reid

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