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Cham hit the road to get some money

Cham hit the road to get some money

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A pumpkin seller at one of the many stalls in Khlaing Sbek on the road to Odong. Most of the vendors are from the Cham community. Photo by: Hector Bermejo

ROKI Yas is one of the many traders selling vegetables from roadside stalls on national road 5 in the village of Khlaing Sbek. Today she has pumpkins, lotus seeds, watermelons and marrows. The stall is her mother’s.

“Mum is staying at home today so I have come to help,” says the 18-year-old Cham student. According to her, most of the women selling vegetables along the road are Cham.

When not working at the stall, Roki Yas studies at a school near Odong. Ultimately, she wants to be a teacher.

Her mother buys the vegetables from the market in Kampong Chhnang and sells them to travellers passing through on the major thoroughfare.

As we are talking a car stops by Roki Yas’s stall.

“I have come from Oudong,” says its driver, Nuon Chanthy, 43.

The main attraction of the stall is its convenience.

“Here, you just stop and buy,” says Nuon Chanthy. “We don’t have to spend time going to the market in Phnom Penh. It is easy for us.”

The pumpkin she has just bought will be her family’s dessert that night.

Roki Yas’s mother set up her stall six months ago, although some of the other traders have been there for a couple of years.

At least for the moment she does not have to pay any fee for her stall. However, income is irregular.

On week days Roki Yas takes between 20,000 to 50,000 riel a day. At weekends and on public holidays, this can raise to 200,000 riel as people like Nuon Chanthy stop there on their way back from Oudong to Phnom Penh.

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