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My name is Bolea, and I am eight years old. The house I live in may not seem so small like the other houses in my village, but it actually holds three families: 18 people in total. My own family consists of my two older sisters, Srey Mek (14) and Makara (16), and grandparents. My grandma farms rice and walks around selling potatoes that she boils at home. She earns about $3.50 (USD) a day. We use this money to buy food, mostly vegetables.

My mom and dad have worked in Thailand as long as I can remember. They work at a factory, which is dangerous and does not pay very much. They can rarely send money because they are also poor. They call me sometimes and I love hearing their voices. My parents come back to Cambodia every year during Khmer New Year, and spend the week with our family. Even when they come for the holidays, we work. We sell used clothes that they bring back from Thailand at the local market. 

In public school, my friends and I have to pay money to our teachers to take extra classes, even though we don't have enough to eat sometimes. Our teachers often teach the most important subjects during these extra classes, and if we don't pay, we will not be able to learn from the extra classes and will fail.

I used to study English when I had a bicycle to ride to the TASSEL school, but my uncle sold my bicycle so I had to stop going. Recently, the teachers from TASSEL came to visit and offered me a bicycle. I am so excited to learn English again and promise to do my homework every night.

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