Story #3: Slum or Orphanage?

Story #3: Slum or Orphanage?

After the past few days hanging out on the street with the homeless girl and her mom, and getting told we should die because we wouldn’t buy books from children– we both agreed we should try to do a little something to help out, somewhere.  

-the hair braiders-

We’d heard through the grapevine that orphanages in Phnom Penh are in desperate need for tourist funding. Our amazing & very reliable tuk-tuk driver Thavi, told us he knew of one that never gets tourists and really needs help. Orphanages get NO government help. This orphanage had NO Western Sponsor. It’s source of food, money, and resources for the 70 kids there? Broke Backpackers. Crazy.

We stopped off at a little shop and bought 25 kilos of rice and 70 soccer ball lollipops. When we arrived it was like nothing I could have ever expected. Naked kids. Round bellies. Eye infections. Rotting teeth. Falling down buildings. & Lots of smiles. Instantly, before we even came to a stop kids managed to jump on the tuk-tuk and start hanging on Rhys and playing with my hair. We had a swarm of 73 kids ready to pounce. First, was the grand tour of the orphanage. This place was a total slum. We saw 3 tiny bedrooms each housing around 10 kids on one bed and on the floor. The floor was rotting out with gaping holes everywhere. There was 1 small classroom for English, Math, and Khmer. A kitchen that was more like a closet with 1 big wak over a fire for cooking rice. That was pretty much it. Everything was falling down and rotting away. A place I’d never ever imagine capable of housing 73 orphans.   

they loved him.

From simply meeting the kids you would have never known they lived in such horrible conditions. They were happy, full of energy, and ready to play. 3 women live there and should be rewarded a medal of honor, they have no wages and never leave. 24/7 care. The children range in ages from 3 months-17 years. Most of them are from jungle villages and their parents either died from HIV or gave them up because they had too many babies. How any parent could give up one of these kids I will never know, in the few hours we were there I grew so fond of them. 

We played soccer. I braided hair. They braided my hair. Rhys was a walking, talking, climbing, jungle gym. I taught patty cake games. They taught me the Cambodian versions. Duck, duck, goose. London Bridge. Ring around the Rosie was the favorite– we did it so many times I thought I might puke [just a little]. We even had a great showing of some break dancing. When they saw my camera it was all over. They took turns running around the orphanage snapping photos and making videos. 

Here's the collection of pictures they took,  
a look at an orphanage from the eyes of the kids living there.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 It didn’t feel right waving goodbye them. It broke my heart to pry the little girls off me so we could actually get in the tuk-tuk and leave after a long 10 minute goodbye. I have so much I can do without while these kids don’t even have a bed let alone a toothbrush of their own. Growing up with tons of family, friends, school, vacations, Barbies & Nintendo, food, regular doctor visits… & they have nothing but the smiles on their faces.

Life’s not even a little bit fair. 

-nicky-

 

Check-Out the Previous Post:

Story#2: Kids & the F-Bomb

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  1. […] under South East Asia · Tagged with Cambodia, poverty, WOW ← Story #3: Slum or Orphanage? Sun Soaking Samui […]



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