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Nong Chrang’s Journey

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.

4 replies
  1. Melyssa Collins
    Melyssa Collins says:

    Nong, I’m sorry to hear of the struggles that you have endured to get to where you are today and I thank you for sharing your story. I enjoy our visits as your patient every time I have reason to come in. You are thoughtful, a pleasure to be around and have such a light in you, I couldn’t ask for more in a practitioner. Please accept my condolences for the losses that you have suffered in this life.

    Reply
  2. Nancy Moonsamy
    Nancy Moonsamy says:

    Such an inspirational story! Despite enormous struggles, Nong went on to become an incredible success in life. We are so fortunate to have her as a part of our community! She is a pleasant and professional health care provider.

    Reply
  3. Nancy Moonsamy
    Nancy Moonsamy says:

    Nong is such a wonderful person! Despite the incredible challenges she faced, she has gone on to make her life a success. We are so fortunate to have her as a part of our community

    Reply
  4. Pamela Hodgdon
    Pamela Hodgdon says:

    I have known Nong for many years and have always been inspired by her quiet courage. She would tell you that her story is not unusual. That she did what she had to do and not allow the horrors of war to define her life.
    Nong’s story is a testament of who she is today – a person of determination and compassion.

    Reply

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