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Family determined to ‘never give up’ finds freedom in US after harrowing escape from Cambodian genocide

CHICAGO – Can you imagine trying to escape death with five young children in tow? This is exactly what Peng and Suu Kyi did when they escaped the brutality of the Pol Pot regime and the Cambodian genocide. Before Pol Pot, Peng and Sou were a happy married couple.

They had a successful cafeteria and Peng was the principal of a Chinese school. But things changed when he took over the assassination of Pol Pot.

Peng and Su remember the fear they felt every night praying not to knock on this ominous knock on the door and then disappear forever like some of their neighbors. And they had reason to be afraid. It is estimated that more than 2 million Cambodians died during this reign of terror.

Their eldest daughter, Mary, said her parents “risked everything”, leaving everything behind in Cambodia to find a way to freedom.

Sponsored by a church in Illinois, the family had to try to reach a safe place in a Thai refugee camp before their church sponsors managed to bring them to the United States.

They grabbed their five children and embarked on a painful journey to the camp, facing snakes, robbers, murderers and dangers at every turn along the way.

Su talks about how they struggled to keep their babies quiet so as not to attract attention. One of her friends had to use medication to keep her baby from crying.

Mary, who was 11 years old when she left with her parents, talks about walking through the rushing currents of a river, holding her dad with one hand and grabbing her brother with the other.

“I just closed my eyes because it was so scary,” he recalls.

To avoid the robbery, her mother hid a gold necklace under her younger daughter’s belt.

Sue lost track of her parents in war-torn Cambodia, and after 11 years of not seeing them, they reunited at Chicago O’Hare Airport on their way to their new home on the outskirts of Chicago.

Peng cried again as he talked about how, during this long-awaited meeting, “everyone cried.” This gold bracelet was the only property they had left when they came to Chicago.

Mary remembered her first impression from America, “I thought I was in paradise.”

Unable to speak English without money, Su and Peng cleaned people’s homes and worked in the yard to survive.

Fast forward 40 years later, their five children have become successful professionals and include two doctors, two engineers and a lawyer.

Mary recalls that even through their struggles in a new country, her parents taught them invaluable lessons: to work hard, to be educated, to give back to the community and to do good things. These lessons were not lost on the next generation.

Peng and Sou’s eldest granddaughter, Kathleen, explained how her grandparents inspired her to make them proud. He followed their example and worked hard to help the children and become a pediatrician.

This gold necklace was the only possession they had left when they first came to this country. Peng and Shu drown and thank God that they passed from near death to freedom and managed to realize their American dream!

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Family determined to ‘never give up’ finds freedom in US after harrowing escape from Cambodian genocide Source link Family determined to ‘never give up’ finds freedom in US after harrowing escape from Cambodian genocide

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