Landmines and Aki Ra

New Crown 2 English Series New Edition pgs. 112-116

My name is Aki Ra. I am from Cambodia. I was born around 1973. When I was a child, I was forced to become a soldier. For ten years, I lived in the jungle with other children. We had to fight. We also buried landmines. Many people died. Many people were hurt. This was my life. I had no choice. I thought that all children lived like this.

I was twenty when the war ended. My life changed.

I left the jungle. For the first time, I used a toilet. I was surprised at bright lights and big cities. I had chances to meet people from many countries. They had many different ways of life. I learned that I could make choices in my own life.

I decided to do something for my people and remove landmines all over Cambodia.

One day an oxcart hit a landmine. The animals and the two adults died, but the field was not silent. A baby cried. Landmines were all around her. The people in the village could not go into the field. They looked for me for three days.

When I got to the village, the field was silent. How was the baby? I removed the landmines in the space between the road and the oxcart. I passed through the field. At last I got to the baby. I picked her up. She cried. She lived!

I was deeply moved by these events. So I opened the Landmine Museum. It tells the world about the history of Cambodia and the dangers of landmines. Many landmines are still buried in Cambodia and other countries. Let's work together for the future - a world without landmines, a world at peace.

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