November 2011

Dear Friends,

It has been awhile since I last wrote to you. We have been busy – first our registration of Nokor Tep Foundation in Cambodia is complete. It is a very important step which gives us the ability to work within the legal framework of Cambodia. It means that the Royal Government of Cambodia approves. What a joy and honor that is.

We are still working on our new web site for Nokor Tep. It’s proving to be a bit of a challenge but when finished will make it easy for all of us to see what is going on, the progress and what is needed. It is a tool which we are looking forward to – but a tool that is a bit complex in its formation.

This has resulted in the 1000 kilometer bike-a-thon through Cambodia being postponed from February to April. Bruce, Sam and Dan are working hard at the complexities of their web site. In the meantime if you would like to join this challenge – please contact Bruce at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

We have chosen our dates for the 10 kilometer walkathon which will be held in Phnom Penh on March 10, 2012. It isn’t easy to do – not because of the work involved but because we have to be very careful not to bring up false hopes. There are so many women who are ill and a hospital to help them may result in a form of hysteria – women who are desperate – who think the hospital is complete and who will do anything to be able to come and get help.

We know from experience how hurtful this can be. A few years ago, an evangelist came who said that the lame would walk and the deaf would hear – the result was that people came from throughout the nation looking for such miracles – people who had sold land and homes in the hopes of getting help. We must be clear in our message – it is a fund raiser to build the hospital.

A few friends came from Singapore last week. Eleanor, Lyn, Gen and Kathy are the Nokor Tep Singapore group. They came to see firsthand the land, to meet us and discuss what our next steps are and to meet some of the women that are waiting. It was a very emotional time as we talked with the women in a village just outside of Phnom Penh. They were of all ages, some looked very ill – others very sad. In our talk it became clear that 90% of the women had some form of lumps in their breast – we also had one man in desperation who said, he too had a lump. We heard some of their stories. Yen Theoun shared hers

My name is Yen Theoun and I am 49 years old. My husband is Lak Ban, 47 years old. We had 12 children. As a poor farmer we have had lots of problems. Of our 12 children, we had twin babies who died because we did not have money to go to the hospital. Our second oldest son then die of cholera – no traditional medicine could help him. Our 3rd child to die was just 3 years old and our 4th and 5th childs die of pneumonia.

As time passes I don’t know if it is because I have a virus or disease that causes my children to die. One day I became very ill – I have lumps all over my body- I feel no pain from the lumps in my breast or neck but the rest in my arms hurt a lot and I always have fever. I am very scared because we sold everything to help my children – we have nothing now. I believe that my children died because of some illness in my body. Perhaps the fevers and lumps are my punishment for my children dying.

She was crying and so were we. Inside of myself I am angry – angry that women such as Yen Theoun must suffer so. I am angry because young mothers are ill with disease that can be cured or prevented but we do nothing to help them. But I am not the only one saddened and torn by the stories we hear. The ladies from Singapore are also upset. Our sadness deepens when we talk of how their husbands respond to their illness. The women raise their hands when I ask how many of you are beaten because your husband is angry with you for being ill. Some of the women are still very young – only in their late teens. Lun Phy shares her story.

My name is Lun Phy and I am 36 years old, my husband is 39 years old. We have 3 children. Right now we are living temporarily with my mother on her land. Our family living condition is getting worse. Three years passed and I do not understand what happened to me since I am often headache, feel dizzy and faint. I got weaker and weaker and I have started daily hemorrhage. Unable to stand anymore, I decided to borrow money from my neighbor to go to the hospital for treatment. After consulting with a doctor in Phnom Penh, he said these kinds of diseases must be cure urgently or my sickness will get worse. So I am getting worry day by day regarding with financial support and treatment so now I suffer from mental illness.

Never cared with my problems, my husband become selfish and whenever he needs me, I have to fulfill his demand. He never cares what I said and what my problems are. When I denied him, he started a fight by accusing me of having another man. Since then, my husband always goes out and stops caring about the family, our problems and our children. I am very sorry for my children must stop school and find any kind of support to help the family.

We make a promise – us visitors – we promise that three years from now there will be a hospital to help them. I ask for a favor that these women may not be able to fulfill – I ask that they wait for these three years – live just 3 more years and then I promise – you will be the first women to come to the hospital.

Big words I have spoken – words out of anger and sadness – words out of compassion for women who receive so little compassion. It only takes 50,000 of us to give $100 US dollars to build the hospital – and then it will take the same 50,000 people to donate another $100 US dollars to outfit the hospital. Sounds impossible – I don’t believe so.

I have a God who is caring and compassionate – who said to me – cast your bread upon the waters and it will come back to you. That is what we are doing. We have started a Wall of Caring – Standing with the Women of Cambodia. A brick is $100 US dollars – and the 50,000 people who will give $100 will have their name written on this wall. On the day the hospital opens – each name will be engraved on a brick and it is these 50,000 people who will welcome the women of Cambodia in their arms.

Thanks for listening,


Stories of Cambodian Women


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