2008, the year I turned 21, was the budding year for Shiny Munchkins. It was the year I decided to do something more than just travel. We gather some donations, color pencils, books and headed down to a shelter for the underprivileged children. On our backs, we also carried about 100 overgoody bags for children we meet along the way. It turned out to be the highlight of the trip. Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh and all the stopovers in between. We met so many street children, we had watergun fights, singing sessions, coloring fun and all sorts of games. It was nice to be giving away little gifts and for the children to let down their baggages of things they were carrying (Most of them were either selling items to tourists or helping out with household duties) and be the kids they ought to be! We had countless conversations with the kids, learning about school, street politics, territorial gangs, their families and siblings and of course, who we are and where we are from. During one of the conversations, a little girl told me – what is outside, look is no good, what is inside, the heart, is good. She was 8, maybe 9.
There were no ambitious ideas about changing the world and saving the children. It was just an earnest idea of spending time together with children, getting to know one another and having some good time together. Since then, every year we try to improve for a better quality time spent!
-Kase, on Shiny Munchkins Welfare Travellers Cambodia Trip 2008