Thursday, May 17, 2012


I met her at CED/Little Hearts orphanage in Phnom Penh, while I was volunteering there a few years ago. Her name is Pech Sopheap. I called her Madam Sopheap. She lives at the orphanage with her deaf and mute daughter. Madam Sopheap works as the cook there for a measly wage every month.

Day in day out, she cooks for the 40 odd kids, preparing them 3 meals every day, simple fare but warm and hearty. Madam Sopheap would ensure the little ones get fed properly and the older kids clean their plates. Like a broken record, she always yells at the big boys and girls to eat before they head out for their part time jobs in town. Madam Sopheap doesn't speak a word of English. Me, I don't speak a word of Khmer. Sometimes she would yell at me too, in Khmer, for not eating enough! Of course, sheepishly I smiled at her, and then piled up my plate, ate more, as ordered.

Yes, she yells! Thundering loud! Sometimes she even pulls out her rattan whip to ensure the little ones wipe their plates spotless.  That's the way she knows how to show her love for the kids, and for me, a very orientally mother.

In the orphanage, Madam Sopheap is indeed the mother to all the kids. She works from sun up to sun down putting food on the table, ensures them kids a full stomach everyday. Working tirelessly and selflessly for the kids, loving them unconditionally, isn't that what all the mothers do?

Madam Sopheap, hope you had a lovely Mothers' Day. May your day be filled with love. And the kids are not giving you too much trouble.

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