Between Phnom Penh and Siam Reap Province exists Baray district in the Kampong Thom Province. A region dominated by rice making and exports, where I stayed for just over a week. I was with a group of friends doing some aid work at the time. Although ‘having an impact’ was not our main goal, we were there to assist where we could and build awareness in ourselves.
I stood readily to give out lollies from a bag I had in my hand. As I held out the lollies to the children they just stared at me and I stared back at them puzzled. Why did they not take my sweets that I was offering them? Why were they not receptive? Were they not all hungry? It just did not make any sense. Following this, the children looked at their mother(s); waiting for approval before they were allowed to take those sweets from me.