They don´t beg for a Coke …. – Beggarkids in Cambodia

Written by Frank on December 2nd, 2009

© Frank P. Schneidewind




…but instead of a few coins or small bills (which they sure not are able to keep), I give them a soda pop drink, like a local Coke, Fanta  or Sprite. Some people are exploiting children in many locations in Asia, not only in Cambodia. Their beggar-pimps aren’t far in most cases and toddlers carried, aren’t necessarily trolling along with their real moms. All is setup for the soft hearted tourists with their ATMs, credit cards and fat wallets. Studies have proven, that slum kids are being used as a tool for this trade. I strongly object that, but the kids eyes….

The Coke is maybe something they never had, only the rich kids, can afford to buy western brands. People here have often less than 3 $ to survive on for a whole week!

But they sure can use the refreshment and the calorie-boost. All these pictures were taken on several trips to Cambodia. As a true Coke-Afficionado for many decades, I also enjoyed this always a lot.

Sure, some may say, they’re often a bit young for a drink like that, but given the option of the 3 flavors here, the youngest ones reach usually for the dark Coke. Nobody will take a drink away from the kid I gave it to and the adult beggar will opt for the deposit of the empty bottle refund.

Other kids will surely pop up out of nowhere within seconds, because their watchful eyes were trained on you for quite a while.

In some cases, I had to flee from locations, because a small crowd of joyful kids quickly attracts a big one!

The dealers of Coca-Cola and Fanta will give you a really good price, if negotiating skills are natural to you. 500 Riels or 8 bottles for a Dollar is the going street-price. Don’t get taken there!

Coca-Cola has a factory in Phnom Penh, which I did visit on occasion. So their products are fresh and tasty, like all over the world. Beware when taveling Laos, as that poorest country in Southeastasia has only knock-off brands and P….

Who in the world would drink P…, if everybody knows, where P…. comes from 🙂

If you were asking for a photo, they never said “no”. Its hot there any time of the year and dehydration is a serious problem amongst street kids. Tap water ain’t potable here and water is being delivered free, only during the Rainy Season.

The smiles you’ll earn will, be genuine and if you’re a big spender on beggars, consider financing a well for a community, it will bear your name for about 200$ and be drilled and installed under supervision of a respected German citizen, who lives in rural Tani and is involved in all sorts of community projects like wells and schools for the “have-nots”. Contact the admin for an email address to contact, if you wish.

The smiles are so adorable and the kids will remember you again, should you desire to return here. We are sort of proud of our little fan-club there

This little Sprite-loving lady drank the whole 10 or 12 oz. bottle in a few minutes!

But be prepared for a few extra bottles for the late kids that did ran far to you. The rumor about the foreigner handing out free quality drinks spreads faster, than wildfires in the Californian high desert.

Have a Coke and a smile!


Comments are closed.