I had the great opportunity to spend one night in a traditional Cambodian home. On my journey across the country, I had seen many endless miles of wooden houses on stilts, but having the opportunity to actually stay in one was an eye opening experience.
There is no running water, so all water must be pumped by hand from a well into a bucket and transported to wherever it was needed.
This also meant that there was not a functional shower. If you so desired, you could enter a small concrete structure and pour buckets of water on your head.
Next to the shower was the toilet. To "flush" you just poured water down the tiny hole.
The kitchen was a separate structure, constructed of slim pieces of wood.
Before dinner, we took a walk through the countryside and wound up at a traditional Cambodian school. Even though the sun was setting and it was getting late, school was still in session. The children inside kept trying to sneak a peek of the unusual people that had showed up out of nowhere. The school had piles of trash everywhere, which I assume were burned once they became large enough.
We walked for about an hour, and then returned to the house for dinner. The only electricity came from a car battery, which was used to power one light in the shower/toilet structure, and one light in the shack, so we ate our dinner by candlelight. I will say that it was an amazing meal though, that the lady of the house spent all day preparing.
After the meal, we learned that the owners saved up about $1,000 USD to purchase the property, and that was an extremely difficult task. My plane ticket costs more than that.
Our beds were simple mattresses on the floor, with mosquito netting to protect us from the incessant onslaught. In total, 13 of us slept in this tiny shack, which was smaller than some hotel rooms I have stayed in.
Around 9 pm, I passed out on my mattress due to the sweltering heat, and a few hours later I was awakened by the cockadoodle doo of a rooster, lying in a pool of my own sweat.
Luckily for us, we were headed to our hotel immediately following breakfast, where we would have air-conditioning, a proper shower, and even electricity; all the amenities that we have become used to and take for granted.
I know there are worse places to stay, and that it was essentially a form of camping, but it was just amazing to see how these kind and friendly people live their day-to-day lives. It has really changed how I see my life, and how not to take the little things for granted. For the people that live in these tiny shacks, these "little things" are actually quite big in their world.