11 Reasons Why I Started a Soup Kitchen in Cambodia

I read an article and my life changed forever


I was just back home from shopping when I read an article that was telling the story of the people who were surviving on $5 a month. I realized that I spent more money on my own shopping than a whole village of people. I asked to myself : ‘ What am I doing here? I should be there to help them. That’s the moment I had my final decision about leaving Turkey and moving to Cambodia.

In pursuit of my dreams!

I’ve never wished to have a luxury car, indeed, I didn’t even want to own a car. I did not dream of a fancy house, either. I’d find it very boring to sit in a house all the time just because you bought it. I didn’t want to have a child, either. Why would I dream of having my own child when there are plenty of children who were in need of help? How about being a bride then? One of the happiest days for a female. I have never taken this one as to be a dream. How about falling into a big love? I experienced many of them actually and sadly I saw that all them came to an end. I don’t see the point for another one. What was my real dream then? It was far from an average person’s dreams. It was to open a soup kitchen and feed the people who were really in need. It was to see how one single bowl of food makes people happy.

Because I wanted to do more than sharing posts on social media.

I see so many people in the social media who are very sensitive and helpful. On one hand they are chatting with lots of laughter. On the other hand they are tweeting critics around to show how sensitive they are, I didn’t want to be one of those. Of course I also have been one of them from time to time. I did RT for the donating blood but I didn’t go to give my own blood. I did many signatures on the ‘ Change.org’ but I didn’t follow the cases. I grieved on the keyboard after every passing news of another poor worker dying in a preventable work related incident but I forgot all about it the day after. It’s so to say that I was no help to anything or anyone just like most people. That’s why I decided to open this soup kitchen and to finally be able to help.

Because I wanted to reach the real happiness

Was I unhappy? No, I was not. I had quite a happy life in Prince Island where I had a very nice house with a great balcony, good food, good friends, good talk, etc. But I didn’t believe that one could be so happy by thinking of ones own happiness. Was it enough to be happy to buy a nice dress or go on a holiday? It was not. I wanted to find the real happiness and  it was only possible by making other people happy. It’s the best thing to see children’s laughter and you will never understand what I am doing here if you don’t smile back at a child’s smile. They are such beautiful creatures that I always want to dance, sing, paint and run around with them. I want to touch their lives. There is such pure smile in their eyes that it can make me stay in Cambodia for a life long time.

Because you can maintain your work and your life wherever you are in the world so long as you have the internet if you are a freelancer

I never wanted to be one of those people who leave home at dast and get home at dark again. That’s why I have been working freelance for years. I tried a few regular jobs as well but it would never work out for me. So, it doesn’t matter at all if I live in istanbul or in Cambodia. I can easily make my life anywhere so long as there is internet connection. A little bit social media, a bit graphical design and cook book are the main things I am doing.

Because lately we have been so much discriminated in Turkey that I wanted to be in a place where I’d be called ‘a human’ only.
I am sad to see that there is a big national origin discrimination lately in my country. As a fair person, I divide people only into two : Fair ones and unfair ones. If I had opened my soup kitchen in Turkey, I would have been questioned and examined so much. No one would look at me as a human being. Combadia is different. People don’t have the luxury to discriminate you. They don’t care about who you are, what you are or what you believe in. This doesn’t interest me at all, either. They look at me in the eye so thankfully that I remember I have no other nation from just a human being.

Because Cambodia is so cheap but also so poor


Yes the country is so cheap but people don’t have the money. Cheapness has not much meaning unless you have the money. I can feed a village of people with the same amount of money that I feed myself. You can buy 6 kilos of rice for $1 and the meat costs $3,5 per kg. I can cook nearly ten days long here when I used to spend it all in one day in Turkey. And finally my answer to those who keep asking why I still didn’t open the soup kitchen in Turkey is: It’s NONE of YOUR BUSINESS!

I wanted a new agenda in my life


I believe that this is a wish for everyone nowadays. We hear so many bad news on the newspapers and we start our day with the fear of ‘ What is the bad news of the day?’ That’s why I wanted a change and start my day by playing with kids instead. I wanted to watch these people who look at each other with love and smiling faces in the middle of shortage instead of watching the people in my country who look at each other with hate. I decide to creat a new world to myself instead of getting lost in the chaotic atmosphere of the country.

Who is behind me?


There is not really anyone behind me. This movement is completely a personal one. Indeed, there have been so many to discourage me instead of couraging. People kept saying that I could never achieve this. Even if I did, I wouldn’t last longer than a month. This was the saying of the people behind me. Yet, I’ve been here for 14 months now and the only time I regret is when I miss the amazing food from home and this regret is over soon after I am full. Again, I have no support behind me apart from the great children you see on the pictures.

Because it’s what it takes to be a SUPER HERO

I’ve been cooking for over years so as to hide that I am a superhero. I take public transport intead of flying. I forget my belongings everywhere. I am running for everyone’s help if they call me ‘ AYN’ three times. If I hadn’t been to go to Cambodia to help, who else would? It’s of course my duty to feed them as being a superhero.

Would you not wish to be a super hero too?

If you also wish to be a superhero and help our children and people have a better future,If you wish to donate, please send us an e-mail ‘aynebilimben@gmail.com’.

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