Their home represents a great achievement for NN who was raised in a very poor environment, which meant he did not go to school, could hardly read and found it very hard to find a job. This meant that he spent many years wandering from one place to another in search of a job so that he could feed his family.
Eventually NN and his wife made the very difficult choice of leaving their children in Cambodia while they ventured abroad to find better paying work. The journey to Thailand involved a very uncomfortable ride in a large truck, mixed in with garbage in order to pass through the border check point undetected.
Thailand was not a friendly place for poor foreign workers, especially undocumented ones. Life was never easy during the years they were in Thailand. They constantly worried about being caught by the authorities, but felt they had no choice because they needed to support their family. They were careful to plan their savings so that they would be able to buy a small piece of land in NN’s home town in Cambodia. Their strong spirit, hard work and determination paid off because they were finally able to save enough money to return home and buy a piece of land in Peaksneng Village.
Their story touched the heart of the Peaksneng Towamacheat garden shop manager Rey Diez, so the shop assisted them to build a vegetable garden on their land. After caring for their productive garden they qualified for a pig fattening loan that increased their income, and more recently their increased income helped them qualify for a rent-to-own home.
In addition to renting their home, they have also improved their lives by purchasing a motor bike that makes it easier to transport the children to school, and to go to the market and clinic. Their children are growing up healthy and happy in a community where they feel secure, and NN and his wife have a sense of belonging because they are not moving around looking for work. Their vegetable garden is keeping them busy and is good exercise!
However, life is not all smooth sailing because living in a close community can be challenging if not everyone shares the same vision and goal for their community. Also, their garden needs protection because neighbors’ loose chickens can damage it, and bugs reduce its productivity by eating the vegetables.
NN’s immediate dream is to find work in Peaksneng so that he can be close to the family and pay for his children’s school expenses. NN and his wife want their children to appreciate the assistance they have received from the garden shop, and grow up healthy, happy and educated.