Memoir of a Thirteen-Year-Old Girl

Surviving the Cambodian Genocide

Tro Music

Each day, when it was time to return to the shelter complex, we were exhausted. Our lips and mouths dry and no longer singing, joking, or laughing, we marched quietly to the desolate sounds of our footsteps on the cut-up dead rice stalks lying on the dried earth. Heading toward the oxcart trail, my feet felt heavier and heavier, and I found myself trying to focus on forcing my fingers to grip and hold on to the sickle as it too was getting heavier and heavier. On the oxcart trail, I didn’t have to work so hard for each step. I often thought of Cambodian classical music produced by a Tro, an instrument generates sounds that go perfectly with the image of desolate open fields filled with warm air. That music, such as “Red Scarf” (“Konsaing Krawhom”) spoke to my feelings and comforted my soul.