Another exiting year has passed in Babel Guesthouse, and now its time for reflection. We started the year with a wedding and an engagement – our wonderful service staff Chan Hov and Babel´s Tuk Tuk driver Mr. Kosal got married, and our front office Manager Sarun Ron got engaged with his girlfriend Phanna.
Our cook Sopha and her husband, Tuk Tuk driver Mr. Heang´s, sons are growing fast. Our restaurant manager Sophea Salomon´s little girl can now almost walk. We also had kittens at Babel in the beginning of the year. They were really popular, especially amongst all the children visiting Babel.
Saruns brother Kreum finally had his last surgery for his new eardrums. Now we don’t need to go to Phnom Penh any more, he just need to recover. Thanx to the Norwegian family Berntsen who sponsored the whole surgery, Kreum now has a new life – no more headache and dizziness!
During the year we had a lot of groups staying in Babel. From Norway, Australia, France, USA, Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong… from all over the world. We really do love to have groups staying in Babel. Its extra fun to make special packages of activities for different groups with different needs.
We had a busy time during low season to clean up the garden and paint rooms. All staff and Tuk Tuk drivers helped out.
But low season is also good for being social – doing things together outside Babel. All staff went to PHARE the Cambodian circus together. We also joined in on Cambodia’s biggest wine seminar, and learned a lot about wine from different parts of the world.
When Simen and Katrine went to visit their family in Norway, Austalian Nicole stayed here with the staff at Babel. So now we have a new family member, and we are more than happy about having her with us!! All staff and all guests likes her very very much – we feel very lucky!
Earlier this year we celebrated that we got 500 reviews on TripAdvisor. Our goal was to get 600 by the end of the year. We almost made it (only 7 reviews to go). We also managed to climb as high as number 5 on TripAdvisor. We are very very happy and proud of this!
We think a lot of it has to do with our engagement with environmental thinking. The biggest new thing this year for Babel is our Refillable Water Bottles. 4,6 million plastic bottles ends up in the Cambodian countryside MONTHLY as a result of tourism. Our guests can now help us reduce this number by buying one of our refillable water bottles. They can refill it anytime they want in Babel for free. There are refill stations all over the country now, check out google map on refillcambodia.org.
We gave a bottle each to all our staff and Tuk Tuk drivers at Babel. They can refill with us for free, of course.
We just finished a brochure for all the rooms with information about environmental and social initiatives in Babel Guesthouse.
Of course, our bamboo straws are mentioned. By replacing plastic straws with reusable Bamboo straws in our restaurant, we save the Cambodian countryside around 13.200 plastic straws a year. The bamboo straws are available for sale at Babel, and they are very popular by our guests.
We have replaced all the plastic bags in Babel with biodegradable bags. Also our take away boxes and take away cutlery are all biodegradable. And when we do our grocery shopping at Babel, we bring our green linen bags from HUSK.
We donate our used cooking oil to Naga Earth, who produce bio diesel from it. We use this eco-friendly bio diesel in our generator. Babel now has fresh homemade additive-free jam from a social enterprise called Happytite. 3% of Happytite´s profit supports the food supply for Friends International´s social programs. ALSO – the jam comes in glass containers that we deliver back to them for refill.
Personally, owners and staff at Babel have made some changes in our lives. We deliver all our used soft plastic to HUSK Cambodia – an amazing project who makes walls for houses out of plastic bottles filled with soft plastic. We say no to plastic bags and bring our own bags for grocery shopping. We made our food supplier stop bringing food in plastic bags. Eath brings his own cup for the ice coffee he buys on the street, and we all use our refillable water bottles. We try our best to buy vegetables that are not wrapped in plastic. We get our take away food delivered in our own boxes.
We have also had many garbage picking events during the year. We love that people get engaged, we love to have people here at Babel who really cares about the environmet!
Also we love that our environmental initiatives has gotten attention in both Norwegian and International media. This way we spread the word!
There are many more ways to reduce plastic, and we feel like we have only just started. Here is a little video we made early 2016. Cant wait to get started on this years video. Step by step for a GREENER WORLD!!
What is YOUR contribution? IT´S UP TO ALL OF US! #thereisnoplanetb
Lots of love from all of us in Babel family!
And – HAPPY NEW GREEN YEAR!