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Ear to the Ground

Send Your Kid to North Korean Summer Camp

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Posted on Aug 4, 2014

    A tiled map on the grounds of North Korea's international Songdowon summer camp. Photo by (stephan) (CC BY-SA 2.0)

On July 29, North Korea reopened what “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon described as “the first camp in history where kids tell ghost stories to feel safer.” For the duration of their stay, Songdowon International Children’s Camp will serve as a temporary home to more than 300 children from China, Vietnam, Tanzania, Russia and Ireland. 

Decades ago, the camp was originally intended for citizens of other communist and unaligned countries, but “officials reportedly would welcome kids from all over the world, including the U.S.,” CNN reports. And what a welcome attendees receive. The newly revamped buildings feature “air-conditioned bedrooms with video games” and outdoor facilities including “a private beach, volleyball courts and water slides.” The eight-day camp is available for the equivalent of $270.

According to CNN, Songdowon received special attention from the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, who tried his hand at interior design as he “specified instructions for remodeling the camp.”

The luxury stands in contrast to the many ways the North Korean population suffers, including from political repression, inhumane prison camps and wide malnutrition leading to alarming rates of stunted growth. It’s enough to make anyone long for the pleasures of an air-conditioned summer in the sun.

—Posted by Clara Romeo

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