Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Asia (02/26/09)
TITLE: Just a Small Sacrifice
By Kara Dunham
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She knew it had something to do with her oldest sister, Pim, leaving. A man had come to their village driving a Mercedes, her dad had called it. Aaree could only gather that the man wanted to give Pim a good job in Bangkok that would provide the family with lots of money. Her father had gotten angry at the man and told him to leave.
Aaree still couldn’t understand why her father had been so rude to the stranger. She thought the man was very nice looking and knew it must be a really good job for him to have so much money. She had tried to ask her mother about the instance, but all she could get from her was that she was too young to understand the matters of work and money.
Aaree did understand though. She knew money was the key to everything. She also knew that her family did not have any money. She had always observed how her father had carried himself low in the village, keeping his head down. When he would wai any neighbors in greeting he would raise his hands to the top of his head, expressing his inferiority. This was the disgrace of being poor.
Money was a matter of respect, and without it your life was of little importance. Aaree was proud that Pim had gone to work for this man. Aaree wished that she could go too, to help her family. She had mentioned this to Pim who responded by slapping her across the face. That had surprised and hurt Aaree, her sister had never hit her before. She refused to speak another word to her from then until she left.
That had been months and months ago, and yet her parents still often sat around and cried as if it was the death of her. Well, at least her mother did. Her father had been furious when he first discovered Pim had gone to Bangkok. Then the money started coming in. At first he had set the money aside refusing to use it, but as the month went by, the temptation of a ready pile of cash was too great. He then started spending it regularly; they deserved it, after all, for being poor for such a long time.
Pretty soon her father had looked forward to accepting Pim’s earnings, and would get frustrated some months when there wasn’t as much, or send her praise on a month she had done especially well. He had even started talking of one day when Aaree was old enough to go work in Bangkok, how then they might even be able to buy a truck or a refrigerator. The thought of her father in a truck made her very proud, and determined to follow her sister’s footsteps.
Aaree often wondered what type of work Pim was doing. This was another question her mother refused to answer. Aaree knew it must be bad, for her mother seemed to have no trouble talking about other girls who had gone to work in factories and at offices, but she had decided that it didn’t really matter. Even if the very worst rumors were true, no matter what it was, Aaree would gladly do it, just as Pim had. She could see how her father walked more upright, and though her mother still cried occasionally, overall she seemed happier. How much happier would they be with all the money Aaree would send? The thought made her smile; it was just a small sacrifice in the face of wealth and happiness.
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