Bunny the Unsubscribed Warmshower

Annika and Bunny

Annika and Bunny

For many of you who are not familiar with the Warmshower community here it goes defined by themselves on their official website www.warmshowers.org:

The Warm Showers Community is a free worldwide hospitality exchange for touring cyclists. People who are willing to host touring cyclists sign up and provide their contact information, and may occasionally have someone stay with them and share great stories and a drink.

This wonderful idea has not only revolutionized the way to travel by bicycle but has indeed catapulted this activity around the world. They say the best publicity is the one that is spread mouth to mouth.

Yet there are others who have not heard about warmshowers but still act as a full member of this club. Very close to the Mekong River in a Cambodian town called Prek Achi lives Bunny one of our favorite unsubscribed but active member of warshowers.org.

Bunny helping Annika and I to carry our bags to her House.

Bunny helping Annika and I to carry our bags to her House.

We had made a small stop to recover our breath on the 90 km from that day. We stopped where a group of local women where talking to each other. I left Annika with them and stepped off my bike in a hurry in order to look for a toilet or at least a field to use for my needs. Cambodia is one of the world´s less fortunate countries in matters of infrastructure. It is rich in kindness and in hospitality but sadly in economical and structural matters it still has a long way to go. According to the world fact book of the CIA the population lacks education and productive skills, particularly in the impoverished countryside, which also lacks basic infrastructure (80% of the population lacks good sanitation facilities). To this I might add that around 80% of its population lives in the countryside.

Her nice, clean and confy house.

Bunny´s nice, clean and confy house.

Most of its lack of infrastructure has to do with a terrible past, war after war but worse of all a terrible event in the form a genocide. Just 35 years ago a dark episode in human history came to be when Pol Pot the head of the Khmer Rouge massacred and slaughtered at least 1.5 million Cambodians (some speculate to unimaginable numbers such as 30 million), most of them educated citizens looking to cleanse away his path to form an utopian farming and communist country. His plans were unsuccessful, but his legacy of pain persist till this day. Fortunately the people of Cambodia are learning not only to forget but to forgive and move on to a new life for them and for their children such as Bunny, our friend.

So when I came back from doing my business, Annika had really good news for me.” Hey guess what! That’s Bunny, she is an English teacher and she said we can sleep in her house for the night”. I was surprised. She started helping us with all of our stuff and encouraged us to go the river to take a bath before the sun came down. Her house was simple but impeccable clean. I felt bad to even walk her clean floors with my dirty garments.

Bunny is the oldest of two daughters, and as a young Cambodian woman she is hard working and fighting for a better chance in life. She has her job as a teacher but she is waiting for her boyfriend to come back home from South Korea where he got a job and is awaiting answers from the immigration office in order to take Bunny with her after the marriage.

Bunny signing our Bags

Bunny signing our Bags

“My boyfriend makes more money in Korea than here, even if he works the same hours”, she said to us. A story I have heard many times in different countries and in similar circumstances. In Cambodia about 4 million people live on less than $1.25 per day and more than 50% of the population is less than 25 years old. However instead of centering my thoughts around her and her future problems I concentrated on what she was doing. As she spoke she cleaned the floor once again, she went to the kitchen several times which was the other room, and prepared some food. When she wanted to speak to her neighbor friend she just shouted loud and her voice could go through the skinny walls of her house made out of bamboo stems. She was active and most of all friendly. “The last month an Italian couple was here and they also slept with us, she shared with her timid but accurate English”. It seemed as if she was already looking forward to host the next couple, so we said we would send her some if we had the chance.

Bunny´s Kitchen

Bunny´s Kitchen

As soon as the food was ready she and her parents gathered around the floor and invited us to dig in. That day we ate fish soup with rice and another dish which I could not place what is was, but it seemed to be fish It was delicious and with the hunger I had it went well on my stomach.

Pictures from her Family and Friends.

Pictures from her Family and Friends.

At the end of the meal, she prepared a bed for us using linen and covers she kept on a wooden closet that was also a divisor for another room. We laid down and she even gave us a fan to spend the warm night. In some towns there is only electricity at night, Cambodia ranks as the 145th country with electricity production so an electric fan at night is a commodity well appreciated. The linen and the covers smelled like flowers, she must have washed them recently. I slept for 9 hours straight.

Bunny and her Mother.

Bunny and her Mother.

The next day we took some pictures together and had the leftover from yesterday as breakfast. We exchanged e-mails. When we left she gave both of us a big hug us goodbye. I have to say that more than a warm shower and warm meal she offered us the best of her warm heart. We will never forget her.

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  1. Very warm and heartfelt story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

    • admin admin says:

      Bunny is a wonderful woman and I hope once we have settled down we can be a great host like her. All the best wishes,
      Annika

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