From Cambodia to Faribault: Separated by war, siblings reunite after 43 years

Sambath Ouch hadn’t seen his sister, Chum, in 43 years.

Decades later, Sambath, 55, and Chum, 60, talk easily, sitting outside Sambath’s Faribault home. In the yard, his granddaughters run around in bright-colored dresses. Two lapdogs lounge in the shade. The scene looks nothing like the circumstances of war and loss that separated the siblings. Looking back, Sambath views the reunion and his very survival as a miracle.

The story begins far from Faribault, in mid-1960s Cambodia. Before Sambath turned 5, his mother had died in childbirth and his father had gone off to fight in the Vietnam War, leaving older sisters to feed and care for the family.

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