By group IV: So Phina, Bo Vibol, Keo Sopheak, Dum Chan Thida and Vong Makara
Stueng Meanchey, Phnom Penh. Under the hot, dry sky, the place is awful to breath but we continue to follow Ploy, a nine-year-old pale and thin boy who lives in the dumpsite at Steoung Mean Chey. It seems a waste mountain at the glance. He pointed to his home, which is about 1 km away from the dumpsite. ” Plop plop, Plob plob! “ is the only sound from Ploy’s big black boot while he was walking to his home.
Ploy stopped at his home but it doesn’t look like a house because it is nothing beside a small cottage with only one bed and a few plastics to hide them from the hit and rain. Ploy showed us the rest of his family. How can they live in this cottage?
“ My name is Sao Ploy “, Ploy answered shyly and leaned downward when he answered. “ I make money about 1500 to 2000 Riels and I give all I made to my dad”, Ploy answered which his head was almost at the floor and his hand moves back and ward anxiously.
Ploy is the first of three siblings, Sao Beourk, 4 and Sao Bas 2-year-old, which their parents are the scavengers within Steung Mean Chey dumpsite. All of them looked physically thin, pale and weak but they are lovely and friendly.
“ He rarely speaks except when asked “, Ploy’s mother, Mao said. She sat next to Ploy and sometimes helped Ploy answering our inquiries. All of them have been living here for more than 10 years, before Ploy was born. “ We couldn’t make enough money to support the family for tomorrow that is why all the members including Ploy has to work”, Mao said.
Diep, Ploy’s father with only a red torn krama added that he was wounded many times by the sharp materials while he was picking the waste. “ It is dangerous for me and my family”, he said.” I have never asked him to go to the dumpsite but he always follows and works out with me”, he calmly responses as he feels the innocent questions has blamed him for letting ploy to work with him.
Ploy usually takes turn to go to the dumpsite and school. He told us along the way that he is in grade 2. In fact, he is in grade 1 only. Normally, children at his age should be in grade 2 or 3. He might feel shy and inferior.
“ I want to be a mechanic at a garment factory “, he unconfidently said.
With a heartbreaking and hopelessness, Mao said,” I want to see all of my children study and have good jobs in the future “.