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Another Daughter of Cambodia Shares Her Family's Story

{from left: Somaly, her dad Bunnett, and Mary}

Welcome today's guest contributor, Somaly, my cousin on my Mom's side, who shares the story of my uncle, her dad Bunnett.


Before Pol Pot and his regime took over Cambodia in 1975, my father was in his first year of college, which was located in the province of Battambang. He would ride his motorcycle everyday for class and had a part time job working as a motorcycle mechanic. He was just an ordinary young person trying to make a life for himself.

During Pol Pot's reign he was lucky to have survived. He was educated and that meant immediate death. He was taken away from his family, like so many others, to the countryside in Phnom Thom to farm rice. He worked long hours and was fed meagerly meals consisting of mostly rice. He saw many people die around him from the lack of nutrition. After a couple of years, he had an opportunity to work at a hospital as a "nurse" and he took it. Of course, it's not the type of nurse by today's standard; he did not have any medical knowledge. He was like Florence Nightingale--tended to the sick and injured and eased their pain and suffering.

After Pol Pot's regime was overthrown, my dad married and a year afterward I was born in a little place called Serei Saophoan (also known as Sisophon) in 1981. A year after I was born, my family travelled to a refugee camp in Thailand. While living there, my father applied to U.S. Immigration and had his sister and her husband, who was already living in the U.S., sponsor us. A year after that, U.S. Immigration transferred us to another refugee camp in the Philippines because of overcrowding.

We did not come to the United Stated until 1984 and we came with very little clothing and no money. We arrived in Mobile, AL and met his sister and her husband, whom my father had not seen in several years. They took us to Monroeville and housed us until my father could find work. He was not able to find any work there. We ended travelling back to Mobile where his first job in the U.S. was in a hospital as a janitor. My father had many jobs since then and worked very hard to take care of his family. I owe all of my opportunities and success in life to him. I also contribute to him my handy skills as a mechanic and desire to help others as a nurse.

{from left: Sophorn, John, Somaly @1985}
Somaly and Mary grew up close to us in Mobile and Monroeville. Somaly was also one of my college roommates. She may also share a future posting with us.
Thanks Somaly!


  1. i'm learning sooo much about my own family!...the one post a day was a brilliant idea and i'm lovin the pics.

  2. i love the pics too! makes it all so real. shannon


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