Early one morning, a few strangers huddled around a vendor who was cooking noodles called “Lot Cha” លតឆា during the bustle of breakfast. The air was thick was humidity.
At our corner of the table, a lady broke the news about her friend’s newborn baby who had just died. The other women condoled her in hushed tones. The infant mortality rate in Cambodia is relatively high at 26 deaths (per 1,000 live births), compared to 6 in the USA, 2 in Japan, and 31 deaths in Bangladesh. This news is not uncommon.
It was heavy news for a breakfast at the market. However, markets are spaces where acquaintances meet, and all kinds of personal news gets transferred, hence bringing the community into the loop of current affairs. Central to this exchange is the vendor –an agent no different than a bartender– who witnesses the changes in people across time.
Shopkeeper Stories is a photo-documentary of small business owners and their trades around the world, sharing their insights, stories and views. You can see all the posts on Instagram and Facebook @ShopkeeperStories