Life in a municipal dump in cambodia
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There are two creative works that tell the same story about a family living in Cambodia. What makes both stories compelling is that the featured family lives at — and derives their livelihood from — a municipal waste dump called Stung Meanchey.
The story as a novel is called The Rent Collector. It is written by Camron Wright. The story as a documentary is called River of Victory (which is the translation of Stung Meanchey Chey). The documentary was made by Camron Wright’s son. In both stories, we learn about a family composed of Sang Ly, her husband, Ki Lim, and their son, Nisay. In both stories, Nisay is sick, probably due to living in the dump, and Sang Ly is struggling to heal him.
Camron Wright builds a novel around these characters and this core conflict. In so doing he adds a character to the story, Sopeap Sin, the woman who collects rent from the inhabitants of the dump. At the start, she is heartless in her endeavors and is much disliked and feared. But before long the two women begin a friendship thanks to a book that Ki Lim finds at the dump and that Sang Ly gives to Sopeap. This leads to Sopeap teaching Sang Ly how to read. As the lessons go on and the relationship builds, we learn Sopeap’s back story and a bit of Cambodian history. And as Sang Ly moves beyond basic reading skills to actually reading literature, Sopeap gives her — and the reader — lots of philosophical questions to ponder.
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