The constant barrage of tuktuk drivers shouting out, “Tuktuk, Lady?!” combined with the “1 Dollar! 1 Dollar!” pleas of the street beggars is overwhelming. Everyone here is hustling. Because they have to. Because if they ask, you might say yes and they will have money for food that day. But this story isn't about them, this is the story of a lovely girl named KimLeng*.
In Cambodia, Kate and I met KimLeng who was proud to have a job as a hotel concierge. She booked tours and transport for the guests and showed them to their rooms. The average night's stay for a guest was $80. That is also the monthly salary that the hotel pays KimLeng. Let me say that a different way: KimLeng works 50+ hours a week for $20/week. Egad. (Policemen make $50/month!) Besides working 6 days a week (10-12 hr days) KimLeng is likely to be fired for calling in sick because there are 10 people clambering for her job.
KimLeng's father drives a tuktuk and her mother runs a shop but their family of 7 relies on her consistent income. KimLeng is also studying Hotel Management & English and every night she spends at least 3 hours attending classes & doing school work before going to bed at midnight. She gets up at 5am to set up the shop with her mother before work. Her walk to/from work is 45min.
This girl is working HARD to support her family. The same as many other people I know, all around the world. Keep up the good work, people. We're all in this together.
*Kate's friend, Kyrie, suggested that we meet up with KimLeng. Kyrie's family has been sponsoring KimLeng's high school and college education and have made many visits to Siem Reap to see her.