walking into craft shop next to the restaurant we are about to eat at, two young boys that look like twins but apparently are not, start blowing bubbles at me.
It then occurs to me. All these crafts shops that train women to design and make bags and wallets. Is it really the right skill to have? Is it really going to help the world by making more things that we can buy that we don’t really need.
With this thought i start on a rant about how, these products have no chance of being sold on a global scale, so they will never make all that many with so many sweat shops around and blah blah (Jeremy spouting off things that are almost right.)
Enter English speaking lady. She looks to be over forty, although with her Asian skin, she could be way over that. We start chatting to her about what the place is, her involvement in it. Shes the manager. She has been here since 2001. with the store for 5 of those years. She was trained in New Zealand after escaping cambodia. She was a fashion designer, lectured in New Zealand and Australia. On a visit to her home country, she saw a woman doing a job she shouldn’t be doing and decided to come back here and share her skill set.
She mentors and guides, developmentally and physically challenged Khmer people, in designing fashion accessories out of largely recyclable stuff. She has had world famous designers come past and skill her and her staff / creators to up their quality so much so that that she listed off country after country that they export too.
Jeremy says something stupid, beautiful lady proves him wrong.
Capitalism healing the lives of the broken. Jobs, to create jobs. Skill sets to create skills. Finances to fund lives anew.
SO i walk across the road hoping to get some amazingly good “riverside” photographs, only to find that it more resembles Dnieper river if Kyiv was attacked by aliens who leveled all of the apartments except one. The water is muddy coloured, the opposite bank is marred by invisible beauty and an apartment block that seems like those who were building it fell asleep and never woke up. As i walk back towards the cafe, feeling quite disappointed a tuk tuk driver walks up excitedly with a card full of pictures.
“You want to go to filling fields, or get a massage?”
He points to the corresponding picture on the card. The card was new but the questions were the same.
“No thanks bro”
My broken record-like response, that attempts intimacy whilst pushing away all he was trying to sell.
“Do you want to shoot gun?”
He points to the picture of a man holding a huge gun. I had heard about this place from other drivers, as well as my friend from Canberra who was in Cambodia weeks before hand. He had actually paid a lot of money to fire high powered weapons. The whole idea of that made me want to vomit and dismiss it as lunacy. But here i was, a white, bearded, rich man, wearing shorts and holding a high powered camera. He had found, in his mind, the catch of the day. The man who would pay him top dollar to drive around to places he probably hadn’t seen for himself.
Instead of my usual – explain that i never want to shoot a gun and walk off – I decided to grill him with questions.
The next fifteen minutes this man tells me all about how, he never wanted to drive tuk tuks. He wanted to go to university and study economics. But the $350 dollars a year tuition fee for university was too high, so he drove tuk tuks to eat and live.
I asked him how much he earned, and he discussed how on a good day he might make $15 and spend 3 on petrol. But good days we few and far between. Sometimes he only makes $3.
Later on, i found out that a tuk tuk can cost $900.
Start up capital. This guy, who will never afford uni driving tuk tuks. Needs money to go to uni so he can learn things he wants to learn, so he can get a really good job he enjoys. For just over $1000 this guy could go to uni, get his degreed, and most probably pay off the $1000 in less time then it would take him to drive tuk tuks until he has even money for one years tuition.
God speaks about all through the bible – LEND PEOPLE MONEY AT NO INTEREST.
Read any book on the slave trade and its mostly about debt that cannot be paid off because of insane interest.
Just imagine 30 tuk tuk drivers, instead of driving white and brown sex tourists around, they all study economics, business, medicine? It would change this whole country in less then 5 years. It would literally cost – $40,000, which would be paid back rather swiftly, so in theory FREE.
These men and women live on less then $3 a day sometimes. Even as a volunteer, on no salary, i’m still living at over 4 times that.
Some of us can easily afford $1000 a year for a decade, to put tuk tuk drivers through university.
Now some would argue, that some of the tuk tuk drivers would totally just take the money and sniff glue with it. Or buy themselves prostitutes. And yeh, thats highly possible. So what if the $1000 was combined with close knit relationships over phone and skype and visits. Not like a sponsor kid, but a relationship.
If we are good at making money, why can’t we make a lot of money so that others can make a whole bunch of money. The idea of investing $1000 into a mans life and getting strong family units, and knowledge that will change society seems a very nice return on loose change.
We are retartedly rich.
Capitalism that heals. #occupythekingdom
p.s After writing this, a friend of mine linked me to a website of people doing this all over the world.
So go here – http://www.kiva.org/lend/397259 and change a guys life.