Poverty: total insecurity

Chamso portrait

This is Chamso, who we met during one of the Buddhist days at the pagoda. She showed us the small room where she lives, at the side of the Pagoda, together with other “Obesaka”, elderly women who devote their life to the teachings of Buddha. Talking to her we found out that her 5 children have been married for 26 years, and she decided on the moment her last child got married to return and live in the pagoda, as she used to as a child. This was the only way for her to insure some care and income. How? By assisting the monks in cleaning the pagoda, and serving them. When they receive food from worshippers, Chamso can eat what is left when the monks are finished eating, together with the other elderly. Also she sometimes gets 1000 – 4000 Riel (up to 1 dollar) from visitors of the pagoda. from this she lives.

Unfortunately she has tuberculose, a disease still one of the main causes of dead in Cambodia. This can be easily cured by the right medicine and care. As you understood, getting this care without help is beyond the reach of Chamso. When she gets worse, she travels 5 hours to be with her children to care for her, as her fellows in the pagoda will not care for her there. She tells us she hopes for a better next life, since the suffering in her current life is very great. Everyday she hopes she will get enough money for food or medicine, but she is never sure of getting her daily needs.

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