Displaced Yankee Productions | Long Shoot Day

Long Shoot Day

Theresa screams likes a girl. (She just said – I AM a girl, thank you.) We’re on top of the roof of the FCC or French Colonial Club having drinks with some Cambodian friends, Borom and Ny, and celebrating the end of the shoot – when a gecko drops off the ceiling and lands on her arm. We’re all having fabulous conversation when a piercing high-pitched scream cuts through the air and Theresa jumps madly off her bar stool. All I can think is she’s gotten stung by something deadly, because really, what else could possibility go wrong for the woman while she is here. But it’s only a small little gecko who is unceremoniously flung from her arm over the railing of the rooftop to perish in the Tuk Tuk strewn street below.
This may be a premature celebration to the end of the shoot. Technically, we’ve gotten all the shots and interviews I came here for, but we still have not managed to get up early enough to catch the street kids actually sleeping. In my desperation and madness, I’ve agreed to get up at 4 a.m. to make this last final shot happen. And anyone who knows me realizes the real madness lies with the poor individuals who have to be with me at 4 a.m.
Today was a long shoot day – mentally, physically and emotionally. We spent the first half of the day in the village in the dump interviewing Hov Nygan and Layseng’s families. It’s a numbing experience. The village is in the middle of the dump and the only thing that separates the main dump from the village are the rudimentary make shift wooden huts dotting the landscape. The stagnant water pools in various spots and brown pieces of cardboard are strewn flat with bits of old food on them. I can’t tell if they are food prep places or deliberate squares left to attract flies and keep them in a central location. There are literally thousands of flies thickly swarming around us. A small dust devil suddenly kicks up and swirls a ton a garbage about 200 feet into the air. Talk about an unusual tornado. We stop the interview we are conducting to video this strange sight.
Three little kids are hanging off of me. One little boy has wrapped his legs and arms around my right leg and is holding on for dear life. Another little imp, who is barely 20 pounds, has grasped my upraised arm holding my video monitor and is dangling there with her feet in the air. The last little boy is busy rifling through my pockets. A direct result, I am sure, of Art giving out candy yesterday when we arrived. Every child is covered in scabs and lice and I itch madly suspecting that any moment I too will be infected. A little boy standing in front of me with watery eyes and green mucus coming out of his mouth sneezes violently and wipe his face on his grimy sleeve. The infection rate here must be out of control. All the kids look so sickly. I am depressed beyond words to spot a little girl with a shaved head and open wounds covering her scalp watching me from nearby. Hov Nygan’s mother proudly holds up her finger covered with ink where she has just voted and ironically it is the middle finger. Which is symbolic of the sham elections happening today. I know this poor desperate woman took the time to vote today for a party that cares little for the people languishing in this garbage hovel and probably dropped off several bags of rice to convince them to vote. I wouldn’t mind giving them the finger myself and mine certainly wouldn’t have ink on it.

 
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