I've been living in Cambodia for almost two years and early into my second year I finally got the nerve to drive here. We purchased a car, I obtained my license and bought insurance in case anything happened. In my first few weeks I was only brave enough to drive to some shops and restaurants by my house (usually less than a mile) and mostly took empty side streets. Each day I became more emboldened to drive farther from my comfort zone, albeit still short distances from home. I thought, “driving here is not so bad after all. I could do this”, but that was my nativity speaking based on the hand full of times of driving in off peak hours, short distances and with very little traffic.
One of the most dangerous moments in a woman’s life is giving birth, especially when access to quality medical care is not easily available. In Khmer, the term to give birth is called “ch’long tonle” which means to “cross the river”. The elders use this phrase to describe the dangerous journey of crossing the river, which was oftentimes difficult and dangerous. Some would make it, others would drown. The phrase is appropriate in describing the perilous and uncertain journey of childbirth.