We just came back from a trip out to the Tonle Sap Lake where we spent a week doing maintenance and upgrades on two of the floating clinics that belong to the The Lake Clinic (TLC). The clinics have now just completed their second year of service and have helped many, many children and families improve and maintain their health with the medical and dental care provided by TLC in these remote regions of Cambodia.
The clinics have fared well in their two years of service but needed some minor maintenance and the replacement of a few taps and switches which were easily done. One unforeseen issue that has been part the learning curve of working with some of the unknowns has been keeping the local wildlife of birds, rats, mice, snakes, lizards, huge centipedes and reams of other crawling and flying insects from colonizing the clinics. Along the tops of the four walls there are open areas that are protected by security bars and grilles to secure the clinics when the medical teams lock up and leave. However security bars and grilles provide the perfect perch for flocks of little birds fleeing bad weather and looking for food. We bird proofed these openings with wire mesh as well as any openings in the floors around pipes and wiring to keep the onslaught of wildlife at bay. Another area that was of concern was the open area along the top of the bathroom wall where the walls meet the roof,. Having a shower after dark was an adventure as within minutes of turning on the light and starting a shower the insect invasion would begin and soon your refreshing shower, at the end of a hot sweaty day, would be shared by the flying and crawling hordes covering walls, shower curtain and washing down the drain under foot in the shower base. We rectified this with small mesh wire so all is well there too.
While out on the lake we also paid a visit to the school. Last March we implemented the solar powered chicken pilot project to take advantage of the above mentioned insect population. The chickens got off to a great start happily pecking away at the insects after dark and when we returned 8 months later the 5 chickens had multiplied to 25. The attraction of insects to the light seemed to account for about 40 to 50% of the diet of the chickens. Then we entered the cold weather in early December and Jan. and 10 chicks died straight away due to cold and then another six. We have to think about an incubator system for the cooler weather but for now we will put a hold on the project in that location due to access and lack of consistent interpretation. So we will try it at another place that is easier to access while we work the bugs out…or in, as is the case, then try again on the lake.
|Milo the boat driver|
|Milo paddles in family laundry pot|
Till next time, all the best to you and yours,
Rick and Adrianne