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The smile

In the beginning there was… 
the smile. 

“Sosdaï!”, their hands clasped, head bowed, the “little paper” between their fingers where their name and age were written in Khmer and English…

The honor of receiving them was indeed ours.
Trust having been granted, the little body lay down on the table, with a krama cloth placed over the pelvis, and with eyes closed.
Confidence in spite of unreleased deep-rooted suffering. 
Docile and hard-working, Cambodians just don’t complain. 

But osteopaths know that “only the tissues know….”, the body’s tissues have recorded everything and deliver us the messages, the history endured, the traces and after-effects.

We osteopaths at Docosteocam work together. An invisible thread binds us together in this room, this courtyard, where the treatment tables have been set up for us. We have covered them with duvets, blankets and sheets to welcome our patients, young and old.

With our hands delicately placed, we listen to the noises outside, insects, wind, fan, games, children’s laughter, translation, and the liquid messages of these bodies in search of something light and carefree, lost or never really experienced by children of the streets…

An invisible thread binds us together and this contributes to our strength, which is imbued with tenderness.

The paradox of these soft, smiling, impassive faces and the titanium we sense inside them.

This 6-month-old baby abandoned in hospital by its parents after major heart surgery.
This young nanny, a translator for the occasion, who weeps silently for this teenage patient who is being abused by her brothers.

When we arrive in the morning, it’s sometimes ‘the court of miracles’.
There are the “special children”, known back home as “disabled or multi-disabled”, there are the amputees (landmines), the children left to fend for themselves in the streets, shanty towns or dysfunctional families, there are the teenagers, and there are the dedicated support staff. 

The doubt of whether we are of any use?
The supervisory staff, who are often former “godchildren” (i.e. children without parents who have been sponsored by an institution) assure us every day of the usefulness of our work.

On my return to France, people ask me if it’s not too violent: the change of climate, the time difference…

What is violent is having to accept that here some people complain about the weather being too cold or too hot, or about a late high-speed train, while the disparity in income, living conditions and survival rumbles on.