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14 July 2002

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We've got to know quite a lot of people since we arrived, many of them connected with the project or in the NGO field. Rith is a bit different - he's just ten years old and lives across the road from the factory. I'm not sure how we met him, but slowly we became friends and now we chat with him most days. He's always happy, like most Cambodian children, and has a wonderful smile. He lives with his mother, sister and two brothers in a tiny room. His older brother died three years ago and we have never seen his father, so he's had his share of troubles. He goes to school in the mornings and to private English classes in the early evening; the rest of the time he helps to run his family's small food stall, cooking meals for the factory workers. It's hard to imagine a ten year old in England doing that, but he takes it in his stride. Sometimes I go over to help him with his English: "What is this?" I ask. "It is a monkey!" he laughs, pointing to his younger brother. Occasionally we invite him into our room to learn on our spare computer. He usually runs around just in shorts, but he always puts on a shirt and shoes when he pays us a visit. He's a real star, Cambodia's hope for the future.