It can get lonely being the only foreign female living in a village in the jungle of Cambodia.
I had no phone, I had no mail, I had no computer with email; I was pretty isolated except for the UN soldiers and police officers that lived in my village. And although they could speak English, they were men and yes, I missed that female connection. Oh there were many Khmer women around me, in fact all day long, but without the language skills to communicate with each other, this does limit how much a relationship can truly develop.
So this little girl in my village begins to follow me around. She wants a friend and I need one 🙂 She also wants to learn English and I need to learn Khmer – we make a perfect team. She becomes my sidekick and through words and gestures, we develop a special bond. She is like my Cambodian “daughter” without all the hard stuff that goes along with true parenting.
I often wonder where she is now and how her life has turned out. I think about returning to Cambodia and to my district, photo in hand, looking to see if I can find her. That would be a great ending… or another special beginning.