Cambodia 2013/14 and the Somaly Mam Foundation-Part 3

Cambodian workers protest for higher wages

Cambodian workers protest for higher wages

Today I was a little down. There were a lot of protests going on in Cambodia.   The factory workers have gone to the streets to protest the $80 a month salary and are asking for a raise to $160 a month.  They wear yellow scarves on their heads with $95 crossed out and $160 printed next to it.  They all look old beyond their years and 98% of them are women. One woman told me in broken Khmer that seeing me present and knowing that I am not from her country, lifted her heart and raised her spirit. It brought tears to my eyes and made me love their fight. This morning five kids were killed by the government police, they were no older than nineteen. I sat frozen in front of my cafe after I heard the news. Hours went by; I was paralyzed with sadness and fear, as I do not “hear” all that is being said around me.

Helicopters are flying low to monitoring the crowds.  Mr. Islam, the owner, who has protected me during the past seven years, warned me that I should stay close to my guesthouse.  I watched as the crowd dispersed, going home defeated, yet determined to win another day.  I looked up to see a woman protestor looking at me as she walked by slowly.  Our eyes locked in on each other.  She had the yellow banner on her head, she was barefoot and her clothing was torn and soiled.   A small smile appeared on her face, which made me smile back in response. She stopped, put down her bundle and signed to me “your face is beautiful, sister”.  I smiled back and gave her thumbs up as tears flowed down my face.

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