Monday, May 2, 2011
Circle Of Sisterhood: The Story of Neth, Chapter 2
Neth was very pretty, short, and light-skinned. She looked fourteen or fifteen, but she thought she was much older than that; she had no idea of her actual birth date. A female cousin had taken Neth from their village, telling the family that Neth would be selling fruit in Poipet. Once in Poipet, Neth was sold to the brothel and closely guarded. After a check by a doctor confirmed that her hymen was intact, the brothel auctioned off her virginity to a Thai casino manager, who locked her up in a hotel room for several days and slept with her three times and he later died from AIDS. Now Neth was confined to the guesthouse and was young enough and light-skinned enough to rent for top rates. When she was allowed to go out into the village she was under close watch since there was fear that she would run away. However, this is something Neth wouldn’t even consider doing out of fear of getting beaten.
Nick bought Neth for $150 and returned her to her home village. Neth opened up a grocery shop, which initially was a thriving business. Unfortunately men in the area took advantage of uneducated women and would take her things without paying. After the decline of her shop Neth almost got back into trafficking but was stopped by a member of the American Assistance for Cambodia named Bernie. Bernie arranged for Neth to move to Phnom Penh and study English and hair dressing. She excelled in this and wanted to own her salon. During her time there Neth found out that she had AIDS and became deathly ill and discouraged. Neth fell in love and married a man named Sothea and they had a baby. During her pregnancy Neth found out her previous AIDS diagnosis was false and that she was actually HIV negative. Neth got back on her feet and pursued her career in hairdressing and is now working as a manager in a small shop near her home village gaining experience so that she can open up her own shop in the near future.
Hawaiian parable: A man goes out on the beach and sees that it is covered with starfish that have washed up in the tide. A little boy is walking along, picking them up and throwing them back into the water. “What are you doing, son?” the man asks. “You see how many starfish there are? You’ll make a difference.” The boy paused thoughtfully, and picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean. “It sure made a difference to that one,” he said.
Story summarized from Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kriston and Sheryl WuDunn, Vintage Books, 2009