|Planting Seeds and Seedlings|
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 the 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, their children and the opportunity to have an education; as they were just trying to survive during and after the Khmere Rouge, 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 their 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, 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 K.I.D.S. 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 in 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. Every day 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 is 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 elbow to a landmine, refuses to beg for a living; as many disabled people are forced to do. He stands by the side of the road day in and 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 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. K.I.D.S. 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 the 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 of 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 K.I.D.S. 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. She is doing very well with her English. Her family works very hard and are very poor. They are also 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.
All the best,
Adrianne and Rick