The first question everyone asks, why did you decide to pimp out a tuk tuk and show movies to kids in rural Cambodia? Well the short answer is why not but let’s look at the longer answer to how we found ourselves operating a travelling theatre.
First let’s introduce the team involved. There are 4 of us currently based in Pursat in rural Cambodia as volunteers at a local NGO. Whilst working on one of our projects in a small village we were constantly attacked by laughing kids who wanted to play with the weird looking foreigners. We were having so much fun that we decided that night we would borrow a projector and show the kids a movie.
Using the local preschool which is managed by SC, we arrived by bicycle to 50 loud, boisterous, laughing kids ready for some action. We anticipated only 10. We took an hour to just play with the kids and have some fun. Being tall I was used as the human ladder and had up to 5 kids hanging off me at any time. Things were chaotic and disorganised but lots of fun for everyone.
It started to get a bit darker so we got down to business and setup the white sheet (from one of our beds) on one of the school buildings and went to plug in the projector…….. Oh s$#t…. The school has no power. Something you take for granted in the West. In the end we unplugged the neighbours water pump for their well and used their power to start the projector, everything was back on track. Once we started the projector it became quickly apparent that it had to be almost completely dark before you could see the movie so back to playing games it was.
It’s now getting dark so we get the movie on, (finding Nemo), and just get it started when all the parents start arriving to take the kids home for dinner. I could hear Walt Disney laughing at our attempt to entertain kids with a movie. We did have about 10 kids stick around to watch 30 minutes of the video.
We were asked to come back the next night and show the rest of the movie which in the end took a further 2 nights and half had to be shown on a small laptop until it was dark enough for the projector. We had so much fun but realised carrying a projector 30 minutes by bicycle down rough dirt roads at night was possibly not an ideal situation. Discussions continued later that week at the volunteer house as we brainstormed various solutions to our problem until we came up with a self powered, fully equipped tuk tuk that we could visit villages in safely and show movies even when it is light. And thus the first steps of Tuk Tuk Theatre were born.
Why not make a difference in some of Cambodia’s poorest villages. Good karma for you, great excitement for the kids.
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