Back in 2016, as we finished our visit to the incredible Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples, our Tuk Tuk driver by the name of TT turns around and explains “my mother already cook lunch for us, we will go to my home for food”. We continued to drive away from the temples and pass the exit of the UNESCO World Heritage Site before suddenly pulling a hard left down a dirt track road.
After a short bumpy ride through the jungle we entered a small village just on the outskirts of the Angkor Wat temple complex. Either side of 300 metre dirt track were small homes put together with all types of material, almost like patchwork, as we drove down the dirt track kids ran by screaming “Hellloooooo, Hellllooooooo” before pulling into TT’s family home.
In front of us stood a modest wooden house with a simple open downstairs area and an upper living area, TT explained that the house wasn’t finished, if anything it was an ongoing construction laboured from the very start by his father and himself (when he was old enough to help build).
As we all sat down on the wooden bench we were suddenly greeted by TT’s family, we thought we were to just meet his parents, how wrong we were. We were greeted not only by his Mother and Father, but also, his brother, his sister and her two children... who all live in the family home together.
For those who have visited Cambodia in the past will know how humble and hospitable the people are and we truly were greeted with nothing but this, after meeting all the family they brought out a huge bowl of rice and two beautifully colored Khmer curries which we enjoyed whilst TT told us all about how his family came to live there.
Following this out came even more food, three meat dishes, soups, vegetables and of course even more rice! The lunch continued for two hours of endless new types of food whilst we heard stories and locals from the village poked their heads in to the check out the random westerners visiting, which was most probably a rarity for this small village.
TT's Old Bike & Tuk tuk
TT has been our dedicated driver in Siem Reap now for many years, his average day consists of him waking up at 3am and ferrying tourists around the temples until midday, he then heads home to help his family around the home before he heads to evening university classes to study IT . . . following this he then drives his Tuk Tuk for a few hours before bed to get any last minute fares. Averagely TT earns around 10 – 15 dollars per day, and with his Tuk Tuk slowly falling apart he will soon lose the only way he can support not only himself and his studies, but also his family who also rely on him.
With TT being a long standing member of the TruFam, this month at TruTravels we are endeavouring to ‘Help TT Buy A New Tuk Tuk’, and if not just that, we’re even going to try and help him out with his ongoing studies. So no matter what time of day you are reading this, be it on the way to work, whilst on your travels or just sitting there chillin’ with your cat on the couch, why not just follow this link and help change someone’s life.
You can meet TT and maybe even ride in his shiny new tuk tuk on any of our Cambodia trips which we finish off with a sunrise tour of the amazing temple complex, Angkor Wat. Those of you who just love doing good (most of you we hope) will also be pleased to hear that for every tour with 10 or more group members on it, we will also build a well in rural Cambodia for a village without easy access to clean water.
If you would like to continue donating to similar projects, please check out our Gofundme page here.
A few months after this blog was originally published we actually managed to raise the full amount needed to help TT and his family. Thank you so much to all the generous people who donated to the great cause. Here are a few shots of TT and his new bike and Tuk Tuk.
TT is just one example of many indivuals in Cambodia whom we would love to carry on helping. Please help us to coninue supporting the locals who help make our tours happen and check out our Gogundmepage here!