There are many stories of Harpswell mothers supporting their daughters’ education, but not as many about fathers. Harpswell student, Chheng Usa ‘20, shares her story for Father’s Day.

“My father’s name is Chheng Loch, and he is the Vice-Deputy Village Chief. Due to the Khmer Rouge regime, my father was unable to complete high school. Despite this, my father was still able to raise us into who we are today.

During quarantine, I got to know and understand my father more since I rarely have time to spend with my family. My father is a member of an agriculture organization, he teaches other farmers how to cultivate their crops. I often go to the farm with him to learn cultivating techniques such as how to protect crops from diseases, how fertilizers should be used, and how to harvest. My father is my hero because he always corrects my mistakes. However, he never yells at me for the mistake, but instead sits down next to me and shows me the right way to plant the crops. I am more than proud to have a father like him.

My father always reminds me that time should not be wasted; once it’s gone, I cannot rewind it back.  Since spending more time with him during this pandemic, I’ve become more mature and developed a lot of soft skills. Once, when we were cutting wax gourds, a man came and asked for seeds and techniques for growing them. My father shared all of his knowledge. He later explained that he is more than happy that people know more about cultivating techniques; it’s better for Cambodia to have more of their own crops for export and help the farmers economically. My father has inspired me to be a good role model, to be open-minded because it’s a way to make me and also people around me happy.

My father not only contributed a lot to my personal growth but also my education. Because he doesn’t have a higher education degree, he doesn’t want me to live the life that he’s living now as a farmer. He wants me to work using my brain, not my physical strength. Living in the city is very expensive, but he is able to support me to finish my education. He didn’t object to the major I wanted to study and even supported my wish to study aboard.

He’s getting old now but still works on the farm in order to support the family. I remember how my father always consoled me when I faced problems while studying, and it feels warm to have a father who cares for my safety and my personal growth.

We are not a rich family, but we do have a happy life. My father might not look the best to others, but to all of his children, he’s what we look up to.”