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  • When I first moved to Cambodia, I lived in a rural village.

  • It took a little bit of time before people got used to this sort of foreigner wandering around.

  • Initially, I was here to search for a remedy to a problem: anemia, caused by lack of iron in the blood.

  • It causes dizziness and weakness.

  • It breeds complacency and lethargy. Kids can't concentrate in school.

  • It also causes premature births and problems during pregnancy for women.

  • Nearly two out of three children are anemic.

  • But this piece of metal has the power to stop it all.

  • My challenge was to find a way to supplement the typical Cambodian diet of fish and rice.

  • I knew that iron pills and other iron treatments weren't really affordable by many people in the villages.

  • In my search, I found that cooking in a cast iron pot can release iron into the food, and that iron is then absorbed in the diet.

  • But I realize that most Cambodian women use aluminum pots because they're cheaper and lighter.

  • And then I got to thinking: what if I could get them to put this chunk of iron in their pot?

  • It would be a simple, cheap and accessible treatment that even remote villagers could use.

  • But my simple solution had one big problem:

  • I found that the women were hesitant to add this sort of ugly piece of iron into their pots.

  • I found that the iron blocks came in very useful, but just not in the pots.

  • And so I realized I had to dig a little bit deeper.

  • I searched for everything. I looked at sayings and beliefs. I looked at rituals,

  • anything that would give me a better understanding of Cambodian culture.

  • And then, I landed this: a symbol of good luck.

  • I think I was a little bit shocked when I found out how positive the findings were.

  • In the test areas, anemia has pretty much disappeared altogether, which was absolutely astounding.

  • It has far exceeded what we had expected.

  • We're hoping that this little fish holds the key to treating anemia across the region and beyond.

  • It's definitely one lucky fish!

When I first moved to Cambodia, I lived in a rural village.

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