And this boy earning money every day on the Stueng Meanchey dumpsite has moved our heart. Catherine (Australian journalist) and I found him working heart and soul there on the dumpsite. He looked desperate to stuff anything sellable into his bags. He had an equipment to pluck any rubbish into his bag just as other garbage pickers do there. It was a handle with a sharp turned head like ‘1’ . Covered himself completely with very old/tattered clothes, he could be half safe from rotten vegetables or yellow elephant dungs. Somehow, he could never be completely safe. His clothes stank!! He smelled like he should have taken a bath three days ago. He didn’t care, though. He went on working on his own. He looked like a very skilled worker who did nothing except work. His face showed his strong determination to survive. My heart was swinging. How great he was! Through all the hell rubbish, he behaved as if it were a rice field to walk back and forth.
This was three months ago when we first met Phorn Vuth, a desperate boy.
He is the breadwinner of his family besides his father. He’s the pillar of the family’s roof. Though he can earn $ 2.5, he can never get enough. He works morning and evening at the dumpsite to pick anything for his daily life. The effects of the dumpsite gets him ill often.His lips look very dry and pale. He is just 14 years old this year but he looks like a 9-year old boy, seemingly a malnurtured child.
Yet, something good was going to happen to him. Catherine had worked so hard and selflessly to find a good and convenient place that can provide him with free and good education. With two organizations (PSE and Friends International) which are dedicated to help poor and destitute people, Phorn Vuth’s future is quite promising. After consulting Friends and PSE, Catherine decided to try PSE first because the organization is nearby his home located adjacent to the dump. It is important to find him a nearby school so he can go on and off the dumphill quickly for it. Sometimes,very poor people can be very disappointed with life and too distressed to do anything. Psychologically, their brain is shut and their eyes are closed now that what’s in their mind is ‘food’ and how to survive for tomorrow.