When in Phnom Penh our guide asked what we would like to see. Rather than choose the usual temples or local markets we asked to see the ‘Real People’ of Cambodia (people who are not involved in the tourism industry in any way). We expected rice field workers or farmers and were therefore slightly surprised when our tuk-tuk pulled up at the local slums. In a matter of minutes, we had children flocking around us and adults inviting us into their homes as if we were long lost friends.
These people have no material items, no money and little food yet not a single person asked us for money. All they wanted was to have a new friend and to have someone take an interest in them. The children knew a little English and loved to practice what they had learned (I think I was asked my name, age and where I am from about 200 times!). We found that the best method of communication was via the camera – we would take their photo and show them on the screen (typically ending up in fits of laughter). We would then let them take our picture and laugh at how they managed to chop our heads off in each shot.
These photos are just a few taken from the day, and it was never our intention to use the children as photographic subjects. The photos are purely just a memento of the most under-privileged yet happiest children we could ever wish to meet.