I Fear for the Cambodia I Left Behind

The pandemic chased me back to Canada, feeling guilt. The nation I fled is badly prepared.

Making my way through the streets of Cambodia’s capital city en route to work two weeks ago, I was struck by the sense of normalcy blanketing the city alongside the sticky 40 degree heat. During my daily stop at the coffee cart across the road from my apartment, the young Khmer girl who had by then memorized my order asked me, tentatively, “Are you worried?”

She muffled the awkwardness with a giggle, as if it was silly to be stressed as Phnom Penh’s perpetual sunshine beat down on our shoulders and caffeine was on the way. At the time, Cambodia only had reported a handful of COVID-19 cases.

It was a simple question, but I didn’t know what to say to her.

In full: https://thetyee.ca/Culture/2020/03/31/Cambodias-Slow-COVID-Response-Sends-Expats-Home/

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