We traveled deep into the heart of Cambodia in search of Chakriya’s family after 26 years of separation stemming from the Khmer Rouge. After what proved to be a joyous reunion, the grim reality of the family situation began to set in. Through conversation, we quickly learned of the sobering details of what it means to be a rice farmer working all day in the blistering hot sun to make what equates to a very meager sum per month.
Their community operates as it always has, with no electricity, running water, or modern plumbing of any kind.
All around them, other villages have acquired the means to use tractors to harvest their rice. Chakriya’s family has no choice but to harvest their rice by hand, toiling all day to produce a fraction of the same marketable rice product. It literally takes all of their energy, working to exertion as a community under the maddeningly hot South East Asian sun. The work leaves no real time for things like improving their homes, taking time to rest and enjoy family, or sending their children to school with any regularity.
One thing can change all that: a tractor.
A tractor can be the key to improving their quality of life. It will allow them to make a substantially larger profit on each crop, while taking them significantly less time. It can provide them with the ability to raise the funds needed to bring modern conveniences to their village. Most importantly, it will allow them to send their children to school.
Unfortunately the total cost of the actual tractor and the other machinery needed to harvest and mill their rice is $80,000…a totally insurmountable sum if they were working to save for it on their own.
That’s where we come in.
Kreung is not only a pop-up, but a cause and a mission. It is our goal to raise awareness of the beauty of the Cambodian flavor palette, while at the same time working to amass the funds needed to buy the village a tractor, and eventually to begin a school and artist residency on the family land.
Please help us meet our goal by coming to and spreading awareness of our events. Feel free to talk to us with any questions you have about our mission. Most importantly, be here with us, meet new friends, and enjoy some delicious Khmer cuisine while supporting a generous cause.
Be sure to follow @kreung_cambodia on Instagram and Chakriya Un on Facebook for regular updates and information on future events.
Kreung’s purpose is multi-faceted and runs deep.
While it’s primary purpose is to collect the funds to source a tractor for my family in Cambodia, what’s been revealed along the way, is that it’s also a way to connect and address inter-generational trauma caused by the Khmer Rouge.
When I prepare this kind of food, it’s a natural conduit into to having real dialogue with my parents about the atrocities they’ve endured; the comfort and familiarity of the smells and flavors seems to lessen the pain, and the conversation flows.
At the pop-ups we host, the meals we serve – I’ve discovered that the authenticity of the food sparks conversation not only with my parents, but also among displaced Cambodians within my generation and in my broader community.
The shared vulnerability and discourse is empowering, and it allows me to feel like through this fortifying tool, I’m able to affect real healing, and gather a deeper understanding of my heritage and of myself.
At Kreung, we are bridging the cultural gap by sharing traditional Cambodian flavors from generations before us and inspired plates of our own.
POP UP SHOPS
TRADITIONAL HOT POT
FAMILY STYLE DINNERS