April 13, 2024
Evergreen

Europe Was Too Strict, So He Went To…North Korea?

Tanzanian teacher fed up with European discrimination prefers vacation in N. Korea

After tracking down an ex-camper from the Songdowon International Children’s Camp in Wonsan, North Korea last June, I was able to piece together a pretty good picture of the experience through a young person’s eyes. Built in 1960 and open to children from dozens of countries at least somewhat sympathetic to North Korea (Russia, Vietnam, Syria, et al), the Songdowon experience includes swimming, relay races, trips to the beach. In fact, except for time spent “learning songs about Korean political leaders,” summer camp in the DPRK is a reasonable approximation of summer camp anywhere else in the world.

Groups of pre-teens and teens attend Songdowon each year, accompanied by their own adult supervision. I began wondering what a summer at this unlikeliest of vacation retreats would look like from a chaperone’s point of view. We now know the campers. But, who are the adults? That’s when I found Fred.

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