I fully understand the concept of a leech. A leech, swims in the water until it finds something to latch onto. It then persists in sucking your blood and won’t come off unless you pry it off with a pliers or pour a bottle of salt onto it. It then swims away looking for something else to latch onto.

Everywhere we went today, there were Cambodian leeches waiting to swarm you. Salewomen and men would walk along side of you chanting “2 for 1 dolla, 2 for 1 dolla (dollar)” If we gave them any sort of eye contact or human expression, they persisted for longer and got more annoying. I finally figured out that you just pretend that they aren’t there, fully denouncing their human dignity, until they walk away.

However, this becomes impossible when the “leech” is 4 years old. Imagine children tugging at your arm trying to get you to buy something. After stepping off a bus, a little girl latched onto me for a good 8-9 minutes. She softly sang a little song over and over that sounded like this: “3 for one dolla oom. 3 for one dolla oom.” (over and over and over). I was determined not to give her money because I knew it would go straight to whoever was “in charge” of her. However, after a few minutes of pure heartbreak, I couldn’t deny her humanity any longer so I asked her what her name was, if she had any sisters, how old she was, etc. After trying to communicate to her through her “song”, she finally reached the point where she wasn’t allowed to walk any further without the police catching her. However, she decided to continue. When we got to the end of the road, she tugged on my sleeve and gave me the cutest eyes but I shook my head no. She then gave me a glare and the evil eye and turned a sharp heel and began to run. I looked over my shoulder and saw the police coming after her.
Alison DeRooy


1 comment so far

  1. Ann DeRooy on

    I like it when there is a name at the end so I don’t have to guess who wrote it. 🙂

    My heart feels heavy today. How do you reconcile the need to not feed/encourage a corrupt system with our need to acknowledge all of humanity as creatures made and loved by God? Blessings to you all as you seek to show God’s love within such a culture.

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