Losing a family member is devastating. Having your husband and three children die in a boating accident is beyond belief.
This was the shocking reality for a 36 year old Cambodian woman, after the family’s fishing boat capsized. Travelling to family on the other side of the lake things went terribly wrong. A 2h team literally stumbled on this sickening tragedy.
Four coffins. Different sizes. Largest to smallest. A public wake.
Just 24 hours earlier this woman and two others were in a boat with her husband and their three children aged fourteen, eight and four. No one was really quite sure how, but crossing the lake, this small boat overturned spilling all on board into the murky water. None of the children could swim. The father tried to keep his three children from drowning, but in the panic that followed, all four had lost their lives.
The Safe Arrivals team were visiting in the neighbouring village. The commune leader invited the group to attend the wake. Maybe another culture, a different language and an unusual place and faces made things worse, but I doubt it. The sense of loss was crushing. To have nothing and then to lose everything seemed unfair. To live in poverty and to lose the one precious thing you have, didn’t seem right.
Three months later we visited this special lady. Just a few photos are all she has to remind her of her family. She continues to look for work in Phnom Penh in spite of offers of an interest free loan to start up a small business.