Children working in salt fields of Cambodia

Is child work good or bad? The salt field work is hard but within working potential of children. To help parents to survive is a good reason for children to work. Child work is normal on farms and small family business, even in Switzerland and other European countries.

Bow working in salt field of Kampot - Cambodia
Bow, 12 years old, working in salt field of Kampot - Cambodia

Child work always is controversial. But there needs to be made a clear difference between children who chose to work to help their family and children sold to work for profit of slave-worker systems and for industrial profits.

Myself I worked as a child starting age 4. At home in my parents mini-farm first and as of age 10 on our later larger mountain farm. I remember that to work, to watch father and mother and to join them in their work, to be useful and be a team member of work was my own choice MOST of the time. There have been times when I had NO choice but to work even though I would have loved or preferred to play or do something different.

From age 4-10 I did work / jobs with increasing difficulty and increasing toughness - all it did to me was to prepare me for REAL life. To work early and any kind of work, including adult work at a lower pace or lower work load has contributed to myself being free and strong in life. To never be unemployed in my entire life. To be ready to accept ANY job at any price. To be free of drugs and free of alcohol all my life. Work as child before age ten and during entire teenage years, while going to school, has helped me to see life as it REALLY is and never as white collars / city people would love to have life. Life is tough on earth. We have Billions of people abused and exploited by rich ones, by authorities, by governments, by action of war, by industries and profit oriented economies. To have learned to work any work makes strong for life.

I consider my childhood work as a substantial part of my school education. What I learned during work however was more valuable in life than all I learned at school including my 3 years high school! The manifold variety of work was teaching me all the missed lesson government schools FAIL to teach - REAL life skills to survive, to be free and to be strong inside and outside to REMAIN free all life long!

After age ten I shifted up to a several tons per day - at age 12 I was stronger than my strong farmer father and I worked using chain saw and other heavy equipment. I learned and mastered simple construction work including Mason work, carpenter work, electric welding, basic electric installations / wiring, baking, cooking, gardening, all farming jobs from planting trees, bushes, vegetables, caring and harvesting fruits, vegetables, potatoes, corn, forest work and much more. Milking cows, assisting birth of cows and any other animal needing help for delivery of babies. Fish culture, collecting trash for recycling and much more. After age 12 moving up to 10 or more tons a day was normal and never considered harsh or tough but always considered a challenge to grow stronger.

Hence all those white collars crying and condemning child labor may only be partially qualified to judge child labor or more generally, city people and government officials may even be totally disqualified to comment, argue or legislate about such topics. The only humans being qualified to comment on child labor are those children having worked useful jobs in life during teenage years themselves. I have met many and seen no single adult with child work experience having suffered from learning to work in early years.

My own experience in life has shown that city kids get lost in life because they lack true education FOR life. City kids seldom have an opportunity to be useful and / or to do anything useful during the first 2 or more decades of life. Hence city kids get lost in games, computer games, crime, street gangs, drugs or even alcohol. Normal children I have met across some 40 countries on 4 continents of my working life has shown that there are plenty of children enjoying to work without having been asked to work.

I remember in summer 2001, in a very FAR remote province of Mindanao island, Philippines. There was a young fisherman son of 8 years. One night around 20:00 hrs he decided to go fishing with his 11 year old friend using the kids own row boat. Going out into ocean like adults, just within rowing distance instead of using inboard engines as the fathers do. After midnight the 2 young men came back with almost exactly same quantity of fish as the fathers did hours later. Another day, after very heavy rain, the same 8 year old boy God up very early in the morning about 05:00 hrs to catch fresh water shrimp having been spilled down the village creek from the mountains during heavy rain past night. About 2 hours later he came back with more than a kg of freshest food for his family - just in time before going to school. Both a.m. situations occurred without having been told to do so.

Children love to learn. Whatever parents do children love to learn as well. Why ? Children love to be treated with respect, honored as equal beings rather than treated as kids. Children are old souls in a young body. That is the only real apparent difference between young and old. Spiritually many children are far more mature than their parents.

Child labor is normal on all farms

Having grown up in Switzerland on a farm in a very poor family, I know that among all my neighbor children on farms work was normal. Also beating up children by parents and even by school teachers was normal in Switzerland and that is infinitely worst than child labor on farms or village/community projects ever could be. All farmer children always work at any age. On parent owned farms there is no minimum age limit. Kids learn as they mature and kids work is getting tougher and heavier as they grow stronger. That is the way it works in nature. That is the normal way to gradually grow into being an adult and being mature for relationship. If ALLOWED to work and if allowed to learn to work as these children chose, children are mature for life when reaching legal age. Contrary to that farmers life, city kids being spoiled, being disallowed to work, being separated from a healthy living and working environment in nature or amidst a natural environment, such city / spoiled kids grow mature for life and for relationships decades later or never.

All my neighbor kids in the farmer village I spent my teenage years had zero problems with alcohol, with drugs, etc. The had content in their life, they all had a choice of many different activities to choose from, to learn and to master depending on their inner needs and talents.

For children there are far worst things than to work. far worst is sexual frustration and violence between parents. Drug or alcohol addicted parents as it is quite widespread among city population but almost non-existing in rural areas and farmer families. Violent parents, parents beating up their kids for no reason, parents using spanking and punishment to "educate" their kids - society / governments or school authorities to use any kid of punishment to "educate" children - these methods practiced during my childhood in Switzerland and also existing all across the world are far worst than learning to work and learning to be strong FOR life and IN life.

Hence before you start to judge such situations, stop and think twice. Did you grow up as a working child, then comment and regulate, teach and improve. Else stay out of other people's life and look at this world. The entire planet is in distress. Hundreds of Millions risk foreclosure, risk to loose job, lack true qualification for real life situations. At college you learn formulas and theories, but never to live, never to love, never to work, never to produce food and never to be useful for the planet. IN real life you learn to survive by working any job at any price. Hence those having learn to work in early years rarely outsource their work to others to finally become dependent on others as US and European society and industry has managed to do in past decades. Strong people survive, weak ones go downhill until they decide to grow up and catch up with all the missed lessons of 20 years childhood behind TV or computer in cities rather than in real life, villages and farms.

To catch up real life education and real life experiences such as these working children enjoy will take man years. To catch up for 20 missed years of real life education during city life vs 20 years of real life experience by the children here helping on their own, working for the wellbeing of their families, those 20 years catch up takes exactly 20 years. Hence city kids, spoiled and educated to use mouse and joystick of computers, to use drugs and engage in street gangs may be at least 40 by the time they have reached the maturity these working salt field and working farmer children have at age 20! Most of the spoiled city kids however remain weak and remain a case for manifold therapies - from drug to alcohol and work therapies and beyond before even starting to become mature and strong in life.

God loves strong people - God loves strong lovers, thus God loves strong workers

Strong workers also are strong lovers, weak workers and white collars always also are weak lovers! To be weak is against God's nature of a God made human, made to the image of God.

Government love weak people - because weak ones pay and say yes out of weakness and out of fear. While strong ones do what is best from the bottom of their heart and soul. Hence white collars may prefer all kids to stay at home, watch TV and later as adults to get drunk and be weak YES-sayers and tax payers. Weak people fear out of their own weakness and dependency on government and government's welfare, social welfare and government programs to pamper population. Government enjoy power over others for very selfish reasons. God gave freedom and the potential to strength to ALL. All mankind is made to BE strong and to enjoy absolute and infinite freedom for all eternity! Anything that makes people strong thus is against government's plan. As soon as people are strong they follow their own heart and soul, strong people follow God's law above all. Hence strong people never are YES sayers but lovers only, responsible and reporting to God only and no other mortal authority. That in mind certainly makes it understandable why so many programs by governments and authorities rather prefer to pamper kids until retirement and beyond - just to keep a large number of tax paying YES-sayers and electoral votes.

See the complete introduction to salt fields and salt production in Kampot, Cambodia

  1. This page further below - preparation of salt fields for salt production
  2. Growing salt crystals
  3. Salt harvest

Children see work, love to work even if work is no fun

Please click on a thumbnail to view the full size image.

Young man carrying salt
Young man carrying salt
At age 12 the load is reasonable
At age 12 the load is reasonable
The salt season lasts only a very few months each year
The salt season lasts only a very few months each year
Another young woman prepares the salt baskets for her young colleague
Another young woman, same age prepares the salt baskets for her young colleague

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