A Day in The Life
What is it like living a day in the life of Sokmal in Cambodia?
Lives: Kratie Province, alongside the Mekong River
Shares: A house with his wife Soeymom and five children
Sometimes when we are in a rush we don’t boil the water and the children get sick. When we drink the raw water, we sometimes get a stomach ache.
Sokmal and his family are part of WaterAid’s Healthy People, Healthy Place project, which aims to bring clean water and hygiene behaviour change to the Sambour district, as well as championing inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene for marginalised groups.
What is your job?
I work in the rice fields and I grow corn. I also work in construction seasonally and also works for other people. My wife comes with me to dig the cassava, pick cashew nuts fruits. We bring the smaller child and we keep the bigger children with their grandparents. We wake up 4am and go to sleep by 9pm.
What do you like about living here?
We have land that we can grow rice, corn, vegetable and other food.
Where do you get your water from?
The river. The water from the river we have to boil it. We boil it here. Before, this village had a water filter from another organisation. Now it’s broken so we have to boil water again. The walk to the river is steep and we slip because the water is heavy.
How long does boiling take?
Five litres takes about half an hour. Sometimes when we are in a rush we don’t boil the water and the children get sick. When we drink the raw water, we sometimes get a stomach ache. When children are sick, I bring the child to the medical centre. I feel afraid for their lives.
Do you have any hopes for children?
I didn’t because I don’t have any money. But now I work hard so that I can buy them the books for them to learn. Three are in school. I have not asked them what they want to do when they grow up. I don’t know, I just want them to have knowledge.
What facilities would they like in the community? What would you like to tell the people of Australia?
I want the hospital the most. The health centre is far from this village. We have to pay for transportation for the patient, or we have to borrow a motorbike. We would like to have roads, clean water, well, hospital and we would like them to help people.
Learn more about WaterAid's work in Cambodia and how you can help