Giving Something Back

Authored By Jennifer

Brian and I have a policy of not giving money to beggars. You have to have a policy to deal with the countless number of beggars you find in these poorer countries or you’ll go broke or mad, or both. We don’t know who the money’s going to (sometimes adults will send out kids and babies knowing they’ll get more money), and we don’t want to promote begging; so no to beggars. I’d say we’re about 95% successful at not giving in (and I’ll admit, that 5% is because I’m a sucker for little kids, especially if they’re asking for food). In Seam Reap we were able to help out those who need it and stick to our policy.

Eathwalkers is a guesthouse that donates a portion of their proceeds to the local Angkor Children’s Hospital. The hospital is completely privately funded, and they provide free care to 400 to 500 children per day. Although the rooms were a little more expensive compared to other comparable places (still only $12 a night), we stayed a couple of nights, happy to contribute. Local Cambodians worked in the guesthouse, and they were so friendly and so helpful. Definitely the most friendly locals we’ve met in any country we’ve been to. Staying at Earthwalkers, talking to the locals who worked there, and being surrounding by other people who wanted to make a difference in Cambodia, made us want to help out as well.

We spent one morning volunteering at an NGO called the Trailblazer Foundation. The Foundation made water filters and delivered them to local villages so that the village people could enjoy clean water. The filters were made out of cement and were filled with a mixture of sand and gravel. The villagers put the dirty water in, and out came fresh, drinkable water. Easy as that. The filters were only $45 each and private donations allowed the foundation to build them. Along with a few other volunteers, Brian and I sifted sand to get all the grit and rocks out, and then cleaned it until clear water could run through it. We filled sacks with the clean sand, and these sacks would be put into the filter when it was delivered. The work wasn’t very difficult, and the other volunteers were very friendly. We had a great time helping out and were happy to be giving something back to the community. In fact we’ve both talked about going back to Cambodia to do more volunteer work. It really is so rewarding, for us and for them.

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