For whatever reason and rightly or wrongly a bunch of us decided to flee China and move to Cambodia. Not so much because we wanted to live in Cambodia, but more because it was the last place “open”. It is also fairly COVID free.
As time has gone on, we are now at 7 months this has meant looking for more stuff to do to keep ourselves occupied. For example….
You can read about our guide to dark tourism in Along Veng here.
You can read about Pol Pot’s grave here.
And you can even read about eating bugs in Siem Reap here.
Meeting the Food Explorers
We meet a group called the Food Explorers, essentially bunch of Foodies, also stuck in Cambodia who with a Tuk-Tuk had decided to explore Cambodia in a culinary fashion! We obviously became fast friends and started to do fun things together.
They had the idea of working with an NGO (and a tourist company we were later to find out) to try and hold a Food Explorer, in partnership with YPT in which we would play games, make some donations and feed a bunch of poor kids. Fun, and we hoped ultimately helpful to those involved.
To read about the initial trip the floating village click here.
To see the amazing Facebook of the Food Explorers click here.
What is a floating village?
It is a village with houses essentially on stilts whereby the water usually floods so high that it is only enterable by boat. Sadly it turns out that Trump was wrong and Greta was right, global warming is a thing. Now instead of a floating village it is more like houses on stilts that have roads. Rainy season was not so rainy this year.
We’d bought a lot of food, toys, pens and gifts for the kids and after being picked up at 7 am headed off to the village. Cooking began and we separated the kids into two groups of 60, or so with half playing games and the there half doing pictures in the school that is supported by the NGO.
At lunchtime the kids were fed a veritable create provided by us and cooked with local produce for the locals, before we did a big swap around.
The day was ended in the afternoon, with games in the rain, a few beers and our loyal volunteers eventually also being fed.
A big plate of veggies, and a chicken curry with noodles type affair. Very satisfying!
Was it all worth it?
Yes and no, we had made a bunch of kids very happy, but from the money we had spent in our opinion more could have been done. Sadly Cambodia is a country that suffers greatly from poverty, this means there are an awful lot of NGO’s out here. Mot sincerely try to do good things, but sadly the better they do the harder it is to raise funds, and what you end up with is essentially a vehicle to pay westerners salaries, with not really enough of the money getting where you would have liked it to go.
It was a good experience and I will not forget my day volunteering at the floating village, but it is also tinged with some regrets and I will certainly see it also as a bit of a tough life lesson.
Not all NGO’s are created equal…..