The following is a true-life vignette regarding one of our own Salmon Falls Family practitioners. It is a story of fortitude, first chronicled in Foster’s Daily Democrat almost 15 years ago. You may not hear the story from Nong Chrang, APRN herself, as she as much wishes to forget her ordeal.
A few of you may be old enough to recall the horrific history of Southeast Asia in the 1980s. Nong was born in Cambodia, into the reign of one of the most ruthless political regimes on earth at the time (and probably ever since) the Khmer Rouge. Those who remember the academy award winning films “Killing Fields” and “First They Killed My Father”, will have an idea of Nong’s ordeal.
Swept away from her family by the ruthless Khmer leadership, she was placed in one of the many ‘indoctrination’ camps outside the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh where she had lived. After enduring the brutality inherent in these brainwashing concentration camps (many children and adults were shot if they didn’t conform or if they were simply viewed as ‘educated’ or ‘privileged’), she escaped and joined a contingent of bedraggled fellow Cambodians who trudged through the jungle dodging Vietnamese soldiers, land mines and bombing runs; fording flooded rivers, sleeping on logs, avoiding poisonous snakes and leopards, walking through all of western Cambodia and on to ‘freedom’ in Thailand. This journey took 12 months.
The then ten-year-old Nong, traveling with her sister, no friends, no one else she knew or trusted, eventually arrived at a Christian sponsored Red Cross Center where she was processed and transported to the US to live. Her sister remained with a Thai family, and Nong has not found her since.
Here in America Nong had no knowledge of English, absolutely no one she knew, and proceeded through the Foster Home process.