Thursday, March 6, 2014


Hi All,

Children playing by the river
Hope this finds you well. We are presently writing this e-mail from the Stung Sen River where we are working on the floating medical clinic that Compassionate Eye Foundation and K.I.D.S funded/built two years ago. This year we have spent a lot of this trip either on water or thinking about water. We have travelled the length of the Tonle Sap Lake, the Tonle Sap River and part of the Stung Sen River. We just had an amazing boat trip down the Stung Sen River, which is really breathtaking. The water winds like a serpent through high banks and sand bars where water buffalo bathe and cows
Water buffalo heading home after a bath!
graze. Passing through these villages is always interesting as you see how water is truly the lifeline for Cambodia. Along the river, water is pumped up for irrigating rice fields. The river is also used for bathing, drinking and fishing. Near the closing of the hot 34 degree day the children come down the banks and play and frolic in the muddy looking water, laughing and cooling themselves before an early bed, as it gets dark here around 6:00 and there is no electricity.

One evening as we were getting ready to call it a day, at 7:00 pm, the chief's wife came down to chat with us; as our language skills improve it is nice to be able to talk with the villagers and they are often surprised that a foreigner can speak their language. The chief’s wife is about 62 years old but looks much older and is so very thin. She asked us questions about our country and asked if people are as poor in Canada; did we have enough food, electricity, money, water, medicine and toilets? which these people have so little of. Here the nearest place to buy groceries is 27 kilometers away by boat and fuel is more expensive than at home. Thank goodness for the The Lake Clinic medical team and the clinic, as at least people living on this part of the river have access to medicine and healthcare.

The water in Cambodia rises ten meters in the rainy season and drops that much in the dry season. In rural Cambodia the lake floods (25 kilometers across the land) the rice fields and when the water subsides people hunt for fish and small crabs in those same fields. It is a source of survival. As the water level drops and the country dries up the search for clean drinking water becomes more prevalent and challenging.

Drilling for water
This year we are installing clean drinking water systems for three schools. K.I.D.S will be bringing clean water to 2500 children. While visiting schools, which K.I.D.S has previously helped with water, we see how these children’s lives have improved. On our visits we watch as hundreds of children ride their bikes or walk on rutted, dusty red dirt roads to attend school. They arrive parched and hot and the first thing they do is head over to the drinking station and drink to their hearts desire. The teachers have noticed that the children are not as sick as they used to be and are much livelier. In our world water is a given and abundant but here it is both a gift and a curse depending on how clean it is. Many health professionals see illnesses directly related to poor drinking water. It is hard to believe “that more than a billion people lack adequate access to clean water” (David Susuki)

Two water projects are well under way and a third will be started soon. A special thanks to Compassionate Eye Foundation, Lush Charity Pot and Mike and Bettina Jetter and Friends for their generous support on these three water projects as well as to K.I.D.S donors for your added support to bring this basic need to so many.

As our friend Daniel Noll (writer/co-founder Uncornered Market) recently wrote to us: “Without people who care, even fewer people would have hope to not only turn their lives around, but maybe pay it forward to help turn around the lives of others and kick off a better cycle, no matter how small”.

Thanks for caring and being part of this better cycle!

All the best,
Adrianne and Rick