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K.I.D.S. Update - People and Projects

Jan 24, 2013

Hello Everyone

We are keeping busy here working on several fronts in the city, the countryside and out on the lake. The water projects at the two schools are coming along nicely and will be completed in a about three weeks time. We recently went out to the schools in the countryside to check on the progress of the water projects. Our experience out at the schools is always very pleasant and gratifying and this time was no different. In our first e-mail we wrote and sent photos of the plowing and preparing of the field for the planting of the school vegetable garden. This visit they asked us to join them in the planting of the seeds. When we arrived the children and community members were waiting for us with many packets of seeds and seedlings. We were soon all working together and made short work of the task. We planted cucumbers, melons, tomatoes and several other types of local greens. When we finished it was time for the children to sit and eat the warm corn cobs we brought as a treat and a good time was had by all.

The rice bank, which is almost complete, looks fantastic and the water tower and filtration system are really coming along nicely. On our way out to the schools we noticed that all the standing water and small ponds, that are beside the road and in the fields, have mostly dried up and water will become more and more scarce in the weeks to come, so the completion of the water projects will be very timely. 

At lunch time we went into the small thatched classroom and met with the teachers, school administrators, village chief and several other community members that volunteer to help their children. Over lunch we spoke of how together we are transforming these schools, strengthening the community and changing the future for their children. We talked about their lives and how the genocide had taken so much from them: their loved ones, there childhood and the opportunity to have an education; as they were just trying to survive during and after the Khmere Rouge and the education system was destroyed.  We asked them if they would like to have adult literacy courses in the evening, as the water system being powered by solar will have enough power to light the classrooms, they were very excited about this possibility. It was moving to see there faces and eyes light up, especially the women who would've had even less of a chance for an education than the boys. Over the past few years the school has become the hub of the community and for many children it is a safe haven. Little by little the school now has: a hot lunch program, fencing, gardens, clean water, a rice bank and school supplies and this is all made possible by your generosity and support, so we pass on their heartfelt thanks. We are looking forward to the celebration that the two schools have planned to dedicate the water systems and the rice bank.

In our day to day lives here we meet some very hard working people and families, below are a few of their stories and how KIDS helps:

There is a small family who lives on our street; Sompea sews and her mother does hand washing, they live together with Sompea's little girl Srey Moa who is five. They work all day long from dawn to late into the evening most every day of the week so they can educate and clothe their daughter and granddaughter. They live in the shop/house which is one very small room . Everyday we walk past they smile, chat, laugh and never complain. We have helped them in the past with a new sewing machine and this year K.I.D.S. has sponsored the little girl for a years worth of tuition at a better school. The family are thrilled and it is great to see the little one go off to school in her uniform...she is teaching her Mom english.

Vanna, a man who lost both of his arms below the elbows to a land-mine, refuses to beg for a living; as many disabled people are forced to do. He stands by the side of the road day in day out and sells books out of a small cart while his wife does washing. They have two young daughters that we will sponsor for another year of education. 

Our regular tuk tuk (small passenger trailer that is pulled by a motorcycle) driver for the past 4 years, whom we have gone on many missions with, has been saving to replace his motorcycle that has been held together most tenuously. This year on our arrival the motorcycle was in a very sorry condition. He had saved a fair bit towards a new bike but it was easy to see that the machine was deteriorating faster than the savings were accumulating. KIDS topped up his savings and he is now the very proud owner of a much newer bike that will allow him to continue to support his wife and two small kids for years to come. His wife was going to use the old motorcycle to get to market and take the kids to school but it breathed it's last gasp a week after it was retired, so its replacement was timely. The family insisted we have lunch with them at their home; as we sat on the floor in their one room flat, which only had two mattresses, also on the floor. We talked, ate and had some laughs and they asked us to pass on their thanks

Sopeak the girl (now young woman) that KIDS supports for education, who has the hearing problems, will graduate from grade 12 in a couple of months. We went to their house in the countryside to visit and have lunch and she is doing very well with her english. Her family works very hard and are very poor. They are always incredibly kind to us and do their best to keep enough food on the table for the seven of them. A few years ago Sopeak had the opportunity to learn to sew with an organization and last year proudly showed us several shirts that she had made for herself and family members, however her family could not afford a treadle sewing machine. With funds donated we  went out and bought her one and some material to make some clothes. Sopeak was very happy and said the first shirt she would make would be for her father as he works so hard. 

We have much more to tell but will wait for a later time. On a closing note at home we sometimes think that our lives may be a bit regulated and rule bound and these restrictions may infringe on our freedoms, however here in Cambodia a few more rules would be useful it seems. We live in a quiet neighbourhood here in Siem Reap, children play in the streets and families go about their business. Due to the lack of rules and bylaws one of our neighbours, a few doors down, has decided to supplement their income with a crocodile farm... no questions asked.
Two years ago there was serious flooding here in Siem Reap which over ran several of these farms, scattering the inventory. Maybe a few rules are a good thing.

All the best
Adrianne and Rick

Kids International Development Society


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