Kraingyov, Kandal - The main hall of the "Hun Sen health care center" is
cramped with mothers queuing up to take their kids to the busy nurses inside.
They are just as anxious to see what lies in a metal cradle by the door, a sight
apparently never before seen in the commune - triplets. So unusual, in fact, that
Second Prime Minister and commune sponsor Hun Sen and his wife decided to "adopt"
them - at least as their godparents - when they visited Kraingyov last week.
Mother Suon Sokha, 31, was delighted.
"He asked to adopt my children," she said of Hun Sen. "I'm happy because
he helps to lessen my hard life."
Hun Sen gave her 410,000 riel ($165) toward looking after the three baby girls.
Sokha has given the babies names that Hun Sen would undoubtedly be proud of. They
bear their father's name, Ban, which means "obtain" in Khmer, so she has
dubbed them Ban Chamroeun ("obtain progress"), Ban Sambat ("obtain
wealth") and Ban Sambo or "obtain abundance."
"I love these names. They mean happiness and prosperity forever. We are poor,"
She and her farmer husband Ban Ngoy have five other children and, after the surprise
of having triplets, she is determined that their family has got big enough.
"Eight is enough - stop!" she laughs when asked if she would like more
Sokha has received a constant stream of visitors - from the Prime Minister to peasants
- to look at the babies. One woman, peering in through a window, exclaimed: "Since
I was born, I have never seen anyone give birth to triplets."
Sitting in her bed, which bears the sign "Gift of Samdech Hun Sen and Lok Chumteav"
(his wife), Sokha is thankful for a helping hand from Hun Sen. "If it were not
for his assistance, there wouldn't be any progress - no clinic here. At least, I
don't have to pay for medicine now. I wish he could stay longer with us."