Story #4: Living on $3.00

Story #4: Living on $3.00

We ate most of our meals in one reliable restaurant. When we go to a new city of course we try to find new places to eat at everyday, but at the same time we find ourselves going back to the same restaurant once or twice a day. I like the chance of getting to know the staff and when you find something you love why leave it?

In one particular restaurant we had the same server every single time. He was there serving breakfast at 8:00am and he was still there serving us dinner at 8:00pm. Every time we went he would ask us to buy something from him whether it be a TV, sleeping bag, or even a tent. He always looked so sad and it was heart breaking to hear him talk about his sick baby. He couldn’t afford to take it to the doctors and get it medicine for a cough that kept him and his wife up every night. He made $3.00 a DAY. NOT $3.00 per hour, but for a 12 HOUR work DAY. Insane. Every time we left we gave a tip that matched the bill. He waited until our last day to inform us about the tipping situation. Basically, he didn’t see any of them. The tips went into a big pot and once a month the [bastard] owner took half and the rest was spilt between the cooks, waiters, and all the workers there. He did a great job waiting on us and deserved every dollar we left him but received close to nothing.

Everyday we saw so many people in the same heart breaking situation. A country still on the mend and its people suffering along the way. It was impossible to help everyone we came across but also impossible to leave and do nothing. Cambodia really troubled me with the question, “Why me?” Why am I the fortunate one? I was born in a country that has the means to take care of its citizens and a family who was always there for me- but I did nothing.

On our last day I handed him a $5.00 bill in my attempt at the best sly shady handshake. I wish I could have given him more, but a strict $25.00/day budget didn’t allow too much. I’ll never forget the grin on his face when he looked down at his hand. $5 measly bucks. That was almost double what he would be making in an entire 12 hour day. I blow that on a Starbucks coffee at home.

makes you think….
 

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