Whenever I've travel over to Cambodia, I have the opportunity to check two large suitcases up to 70 pounds each. I never pack anything personal in those suitcases. Instead, we bring over supplies for the Sharing Foundation, mostly in-kind donations of clothing, medicine, or other items that can't be easily acquired or are cheaper in the US. This trip, I carried over two large suitcases of technology t-shirts for the Cambodian Bloggers that were donated by the generous readers of my blog and included nonprofits and web2.0 companies.
Since I could not visit Cambodia without carrying over some items for the Sharing Foundation, I had a third checked piece of luggage, a portable crib for orphanage. Since no good deed goes unpunished, I had to pay an extra luggage fee.
There were more than enough t-shirts for the Cambodian bloggers (probably enough for some bloggers to get more than one). There were also children's t-shirts contributed, so I distributed these to the kids in the orphanage and some of the extra t-shirts to the college students being sponsored by the Sharing Foundation. The photo opportunity in the orphanage was a very low keyed and orderly event. They said thank in Khmer and bowed without being prompted! The college students enjoyed the t-shirts too even though they were not aware of the companies.
The college students and the orphanage children had never heard the word "blog" before! Maybe someday, they will blog their thank you, like this one from Lux Mean or this one Vutha Surf or Soben.
In contrast, the t-shirt distribution to the Cambodia bloggers was a high energy event. After lunch, bloggers came back into the main meeting room. The clogger team got on stage with the bags of t-shirts and started to pull them out one-by-one. Like street hawkers. "Google? TechSoup? Nten? Scrapblog? TechSoup? YouthNoise?" Bloggers were shouting, pointing, laughing, and gesturing. They were very excited to get the t-shirts. It was all done in Khmer, so I have no idea what was being said, although I'm sure the generous t-shirt donors were thanked.
I ran around trying to get as many photos and videos of the Cambodian bloggers wearing the t-shirts. The room was very hot, despite being air conditioned and I was dehydrated from not enough water and dizzy. So, I apologize if I missed any. There was a group photo at the end and we sang Arapee Yah and there was some Khmer dancing. I was dancing so I put down my camera, so you won't see me dance in the video above, but you can see it in Preetam's video. Great fun!
I love what Lux wrote about the t-shirts:
new t-shirts on the street: don’t be surprised if u r on the way to somewhere sometime and see cambodians on bicycles or motorbikes wearing t-shirs of technorati, creative commons, secondlife, techsoup, and so on…, beth kanter brought all of those for cloggers. now i’m wearing “i digg” writing this post.
In addition, many people generously contributed additional items like swag (including lots from Tara Hunt and Chris Messina, founders of barcamp. There was even some talk about a barcamp in Southeast Asia. In the video above, Preetam Rai explains why he thinks a barcamp in Southeast Asia would be a great opportunity.
The Cambodian Bloggers Summit had wonderful laptop stickers! I also collected stickers from different Web 2.0 companies. In the video above, Virak is placing laptop stickers on his laptop.
I would also like to thank KhmerOS for the KhmerOS t-shirts. I did not have a minute to do any souvenir shopping, so I very much appreciated that Chantra gave me two t-shirts for the kids. I also received a Cambodian Bloggers Summit T-shirt upon my arrival (and a Khmer keyboard from Javier Sola at KhmerOS)
Photo from Beth's Flickr Stream