This little girl approached me at breakfast this morning, walking through the sun speckled outdoor patio of Le Museum, a café in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She saw I had pushed away my plate, content with my breakfast, but there was still food on it – two halves of white toast.
Kids rule the streets in Cambodia; and in most humble countries in Asia, and the developing world for that matter. What I mean by that is that poor kids – which is most of ‘em – roam the streets at all hours, hanging out right along with their parents or completely unattended, or working, themselves. To them, it seems like a game, or rather, they make a game out of their circumstances no matter how hard they are, just to find joy.
The girl was shy, but not because she was asking for food but for another reason: she didn’t know what it was. The way she looked between the bread, the butter, and the packet of jam, I could tell she had never eaten these things, and certainly not at a fancy restaurant like this where breakfast cost $4.50 USD – enough to feed her whole family for a couple days.
So I encouraged her to pull up a bench so we could dine like new best friends and I took the knife, spread a little butter, and then opened the packet of strawberry jam – which is the sugary payday for any child, anywhere in the world.
I took a few priceless shots of her expression and then smile as she explored the delicacy. She was already getting up, ecstatic to run off and show her father or friends her new discovery, but I implored her to sit still for another minute while I shot a photo of her with my Fujifilm instant camera, then handed her the photograph once it developed, a keepsake of the first time she tried butter.
If you want to read more from this series, just click on the Give a Photo category to the right, and thanks for sharing!