My name is Pisey. I was born in Preah Romkoal, in Stung Treng province, more than 50 kilometers out of town. I’m 21 years old. My mother’s name is Sai, my father’s is Roam. He died, my father, when I was 10.
My parents are farmers. My father was sick for a long time before he died. I don’t so much know what happened, what he had. They tried to cure him with a heated cup—you press it onto the skin, and it brings the blood to the surface. Now we think it was a kidney problem that killed him. He had trouble passing water.
My mother did not find another husband. She lives with her children. It is difficult to be a farmer alone, as you know. We start when the rain falls, but then sometimes it stops falling, and the rice dries.
Altogether, there are seven of us, seven siblings. I am the youngest, the seventh child. All but myself have families already. One has a Laotian wife, and lives there. The rest are in Stung Treng. When my father died, five of us or so were still at home—myself, my older sister, my grandmother, and a nephew. We helped to make rice in those bad years, afterwards. Now the older sister has a family and has moved to Thailand to work. My other siblings, too, are with their families. So I helped, mostly, to make rice and to work in the field.
I stopped studying in ninth grade. We had no money, so I could not continue. I was about eighteen. Before sixth grade, I had studied in my own village, but afterwards I cold not—we had no further school. I am strongly hope I will change my life after I graduate at Le Tonlé Center.