in moments

Little red wrist band

I was thinking on this since my little red wrist band broke. It was one of those you see so often in Asia. I got that one from a deaf girl in a mall in Da Nang Vietnam. She carefully tied it on my right wrist and I donated about $.50. She was happy and I felt like I would not take the wrist band off. Finally it fell apart before I left the United States. I was shocked. Perhaps dismayed that it would not last until Asia. It became this part of me. I noticed the red thread that held it together though was getting rather worn out. It had been since 2018 when I was given it.

I don’t really want numbers of cute wrist bands or whatever like some folks seem to do. Leather ones or multiple colors. What it is I have wanted is to replace the one with another. So this khmer girl came to me my first night in Phnom Penh and offered me three for two dollars. I gave her $5 for three. One of the waitresses at the bar helped me put it on. It had to be on the right wrist. Now I have the wrist band again and I feel like the one piece of decoration was replaced again in Asia. This one is red too. Perhaps made a little better.

I never take it off. It swims with me, bathes with me, goes to wherever with me. Here in Cambodia they are cheap and children sell them. I do have a story about a little girl here before to tell though that was also selling them.

Flash back to 2019 Phnom Penh

Back then I was sitting at this same bar, talking with my friend AV. She was a waitress at the time at the bar. Same bar remember where I just got the new one. Just to set the stage. This Khmer girl probably 8 years old asked me to buy a wrist band or three. I said no. She stood looking at me with this look on her face so I called AV over to talk to her in Khmer. AV talked with her quietly for a moment and looked uncomfortable. She let me know the girl had not eaten for a day because all the money she made was given to someone else. I have a daughter you know. This little girl with her long brown hair and almost desperate look touched my soul and heart.

I told her to sit down at my table and AV just smiled. I told AV to bring her a hamburger and french fries and a coke. The girl ate every last bite of the burger and fries and thanked me in decent English and looked much happier. No one could take the food in her tummy like they could the money she made.

It all reminded me perhaps of my daughter and that I never would want to see her hungry and desperate. All for a $3 wrist band made who knows where.

And finally back to now

So I bought three and a memory. I remembered as I bought them how back in 2019 I felt after. My friend AV came over to me afterwards and told me I almost made her cry. Let’s just be clear, Cambodia is a nice place but this is not some developed and rich country. People are in poverty here. Yet the Khmer people are the most wonderful and friendly and authentic. You cannot separate the two events out and while I don’t know what happens with the money I gave the girl a few nights ago, I do know the price of happiness years ago. A burger, fries and coke. Perhaps only for a day.

I have not found AV since I have been here. I would love to see her again. But I found this other person who I am spending time with and she is enjoyable, funny, smart, and enjoys being teased too. I’ll get to see her again tomorrow and then when she comes to Siem Reap for her birthday.

So yes, I do love Cambodia. The people and the wonderful warmth and beauty of this country.

Take care all.