Siem Reap: Donate Blood at the Angkor Hospital for Children
Get There: Tep Vong (Achamean) Road & Oum Chhay Street, Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap
Open: 8am – 12pm & 2pm – 5pm Monday to Friday; 8am – 12pm Saturday
Whenever my veins start to feel too full, I like to go and have them professionally drained at the local hospital. And at the Angkor Hospital for Children, the perks do not end at the decluttering of your cardiovascular system. In fact, this first-class facility is a hobo’s dream come true.
First and foremost, there’s free food involved. And I’m not talking the tea and soggy bickies that might have been served at your local blood-drive down at the town hall. I’m talking an ice-cold coke and more delicious biscuits than you could possibly shove down your throat in the time permitted. They’ll even leave you alone in the room with the bickies, so there’s no pressure to only take an “appropriate” amount. Come with empty pockets.
Secondly, you’re given a blood test. And if you’re no longer a student and/or haven’t bothered to get travel insurance, you’ll appreciate this for the bargain that it is. They’ll even tell you your blood type if you don’t already know it so that you can find out which caste you slot into biologically. Unfortunately, I was conceived by peasant parents and thus have the O+ blood of a pleb, but I don’t have Hep A or syphilis, so I’ve got that going for me.
Thirdly, and this is a big thirdly, the T-shirt. A free T-shirt is always the tits when you’re on the road; by now your wardrobe probably consists of three pub crawl shirts and a bintang singlet that some crazy mofo left behind at your last hostel. But this t-shirt is in a class of its own. Unlike your others, this does not scream “I lost my dignity in a stairwell in Barcelona” or “I went to Prague and did 17 absinthe shots in an hour”: no, no, no. This modest garment says “I donated blood and saved the life of a child”. Literally. Right across the back. If for no other reason you are interested in donating blood, do it for the shirt (aka your new wingman), because what could up your attractiveness more than saving a sick child’s life?
Finally, this is something that you can do that will genuinely help people in Cambodia. Forget funding fake orphanages or “buying milk” for babies who are the pawns in a filthy money-grabbing scam. Give half an hour of your time and 350ml of your blood, thus building up Cambodia’s depleted blood bank and helping to combat the 1 in 77 figure of children that are dying before their 5th birthday. This alone is reason enough to siphon your bodily juices. But by all means, if giving isn’t your thing, do it for the free shit.