1 April, 2020
Headaches, high fevers, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and other negative symptoms are the effects that typhoid has on a person.
Thom experienced each one of these symptoms. It meant that he would stay home from school while his younger brother and sister went. He would not be able to run and play alongside his friends, which is hard for a young and active boy like Thom. He would instead stay home and try to deal with the pain that typhoid brought.
If he felt sick, he would need to walk far out to the family field to relieve himself. Thom’s family did not have a latrine, and without one, Thom’s family and neighbours were vulnerable to catching the disease.
Thom’s parents worried about their son. Thom’s mother, Champei, looks after the family and runs a small shop outside their home, selling to people driving past. Thom’s father, Arun, works down the road from his home, building furniture and earns $45 USD every month. This is less than half the average household income in Cambodia. The family also has a small farm and a chicken coop to provide food. Thom’s parents use what they can earn to pay for their children’s food, clothing, and education.
After covering all their basic needs with their income, there is not much left over. There was not enough to send Thom to a doctor or to pay for medication to treat his typhoid. Thom instead went to a health clinic and was given paracetamol to relieve some of his symptoms.
Champei and Arun did not have enough to buy a latrine for their family. The average cost of a latrine is $243 USD. This is 5 months of Arun’s income, and seemed like an impossibility.
When ADRA came to Thom’s village to install latrines, Thom’s entire family was excited. Champei and Arun would still need to contribute $80USD to have their own latrine, but this was much more achievable than having to pay the full price.
Now the family have a latrine in their back yard, they no longer need to worry about walking far into their farmland to relieve themselves. They can feel safer and are less vulnerable to disease.
Thom is still vulnerable to infections and has a weak immune system, but many of his typhoid symptoms have gone. He is well enough to attend school and is healthier and stronger than he was previously.
Champei shared that now the entire family is healthier, they are sick less often and don’t have to miss as many days away from school or work.
The entire family is grateful for the latrine. All of the money they would have needed to save and use to buy the latrine can now be invested back into their home and farm.
While a latrine does not fix every problem in the world, it has made a world of difference to Thom and his family. Now Thom can go to school every day and play alongside his friends, complete his education and worry less about being sick.