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Archive

Hills and Valleys

Jan 14, 2014

Hi Everyone

Hope all is well with you and yours?

On our way to the three schools that we are doing the two water projects and the library at this year we stopped to research another school that we hope to assist in the future. Prolit Elementary School is off the main road about eleven kilometers. Upon our arrival we were met by a large portion of the 280 plus children who attend the school; most of them underweight and small for their age as a result of an insufficient diet for the duration of their short lives. The children were dressed in dirty and tattered clothing and the school yard was silent. We have learned what to expect and experience has taught us to steel our hearts and guard our emotions for these first time visits. The children’s sad eyes and tired expressions always breach our defenses and pierce our hearts. As this was an exploratory trip we only brought each child a pair of flip flops. The kids lined up in the dirt in front of the school and patiently waited their turn for their new shoes, the majority barefoot

kids-newschool.jpg

Back into the car we move onto another school we work with called Kauk Chrey. As we drive along the dusty, red, dirt roads we remember how things were here not so long ago.The children used to be like the children at the above mentioned school but that was before the water project, rice bank and food program was implemented by K.I.D.S. The difference in a couple of years is remarkable and impossible not to notice. The children have the energy to smile, learn and play on their breaks but best of all is the sweet song of their laughter.

 

Fast forward a couple of days and we are in the countryside in another direction with Hak and Sopeak visiting the program we implemented called Smart Kids. The children wait for us to arrive and greet us with smiles and hellos. Here, like at KaukChrey, we see the difference after three years. Hak has worked wonders with these children and we are lucky to have him work with us. The results of his lessons in hygiene and the health club he initiated are very evident. The children are clean and crisp and their smiles are bright. Many now speak english quite well and others, a little shy to yet express themselves, will soon be on their way. Here the choices in life are few; fishing, laboring in a brick factory or working in the rice fields. Most children unfortunately have had minimal or sporadic access to school due to poverty. When we started this program we asked the families to allow the kids to focus only on their studies however the economic realities still force some of these children to have to work part time to help support their families. Our tactic with Smart Kids will be on vocational or hospitality training. In addition to their khmer studies we will focus on english and computer skills, in hope that they will be able to enter the job market in a few years and assist themselves, their siblings and families. Sopeak stands with us as a model of what is possible.

 

We left them each with a basket of cooking oil, fish sauce, toothbrushes, toothpaste, clothes washing powder, hand soap, shampoo and dish soap (which in the opinion of some was just more shampoo)

 kids-shampoo.JPG

We got back in the van and headed for home our defenses once again fortified and our spirits lifted.

 

Back in Siem Reap our tuk tuk driver tells us about a 13 year old boy he knows who begs on the streets to help his family. He lost his arm in a brick factory, can we help him? and so it goes.

 

Today is Jan 14th our daughter’s birthday; she would have been 35 if she had lived. The road from her passing to here is like this work, and the lives of those that we work with. At times it is down the valleys and up the hills, down the snakes and up the ladders… for a dead flat country it can at times feel very mountainous.

 

Through it all your support to us and to K.I.D.S is unwavering and we are so very thankful for your kindness and generosity which makes this work possible.

 

Till next time,

Rick and Adrianne

 

 

 Kids International Development Society

     KIDS                
  


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