I'm now in Cambodia for my second overseas medical elective. I've been here for a week and am living like royalty, put up by my boyfriend's parents' relations who may or may not be millionaires. I'm pretty sure they are.
It's quite a culture shock after Africa, where I shared a small concrete hut with my friend, worked all day at a free hospital, and was a source of wonder for local children who saw very few "mzungu" (white people).
Here I have my own air-conditioned apartment with a kitchen and living room. I "work" for maybe 4 hours in the mornings at a hospital that charges for x-rays and simple medications, and pays its doctors so little that in the afternoons they disappear to work at private clinics. The local children here know "barrang" (white people) very well and beg them for money.
Even if you do hand over cash, it's hard to know where the money's going.
Today a woman with a baby begged me for money just as I passed a food stall. She wanted 100 riel. For 1,000 riel (25c) I bought them some food.
"Awt ei te". No worries.