Stories From The Field: Kim Pech

Recently F2F leadership coach and donor, Julie Craig Lautens, traveled to Cambodia to meet the F2F Cambodia team in person. Here she describes meeting one of F2F’s beneficiaries, Kim Pech.

As we gather on the dusty ground for our chat, I am immediately drawn to Kim Pech’s friendly face. At least twenty feet below us, the river is reduced to a few muddy ponds. Kim Pech lives with her disabled daughter and a son in the raised corrugated steel house behind her victory garden. I can see her outdoor kitchen and her daughter in the shade under their house, while a group of children play nearby.
Last year, F2F facilitators and assistants set up a victory garden for her, protected by a bamboo and cloth mesh fence. During the rainy season, with help from her son and daughter, she grew vegetables, saving >$1 per day. She stopped borrowing money, bought more rice, and used her daughter’s government check for meat and fish. She was happy that the vegetables provided better nutrition, especially for the children.


Eventually, the river filled and overflowed onto the garden, damaging the plants. As the dry season took hold, surviving plants died off. In Sakara, F2F Program Manager, and the local F2F assistant, Khorn Ratana, tell her about using foam containers, recycled cement bags, and hanging bottles to keep plants growing through floods and drought. Kim Pech nods with interest and says she’d like to try this.
This year, she is keen to raise green mustard and Chinese cabbage for the children, who are now trying to catch eels in the muddy ponds. I imagine she is a steady presence for them, and I am inspired by her resilience and sparkling spirit.

Julie Lautens (in purple) sitting with the F2F staff, victory garden facilitators and Kim Pech.