Cambodia! not a subject normally expected to cause congestion around the travel shelves. Why then a third edition? Perhaps because it is different. Two elderly, some would say naive, doctors from middle England throw caution to the winds and head off with VSO, an organisation more usually associated with adventurous youngsters. They face not just humid heat, cockroaches and cultural somersaults but something incomparably more challenging, the harsh realities of a country still reeling from the prolonged terrors of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge. With generosity of spirit and an unquenchable sense of humour they plunge into a maelstrom of lawlessness where life is cheap and guns and greed prevail. Surrounded on all sides by medical, financial and ethical dilemmas, the author gradually gropes her way towards the climax of her work, the launch of a clinic for prostitutes actually inside the brothel where they work. She tells the stories of these young girls, many of them under sentence of death from AIDS, stories that shock, horrifies and form the pivotal point of the whole story. It is a thoughtful book, written with great artistry and turn of phrase.
It is written with an eye and an ear to the history, new and old, of an extraordinary and little-known country. This third edition contains a postscript considering events since 2003 bringing the reader up-to-date with the situation in Cambodia as it is today.
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