“The disability has imprisoned my dreams and hinders my whole spirit.” While walking between the crammed alleys of a riverside, grimy slum of Siem Reap, Cambodia, I found Soye playing violin on the stairs of his house. 35 year old Soye has lost one of his limbs in a landmine explosion when he was 20.
“I couldn’t go to school ever. I used to play music at weddings but now, day by day, I feel exhausted. My music is only for myself. Although I play in the market place to earn money, I never beg,” Soye’s dazzling eyes glitter.
In Cambodia, the death of Pol Pot and the demise of the Khmer Rouge ended a dark and savage era but the legacy left behind is 41,000 victims who have lost limbs to landmines. Cambodia is the home to an estimated 4-6 million landmines and has the highest per capita number of amputees in the world – one of every 350 people.
I followed him from sunrise to the hazy dusk, capturing his daily life through my camera. In the busy marketplace Soye’s violin attracts some people, while some just pass by. But at the end of the day when he comes back with only one and a half dollar, nothing can hold his sparkling smile.