Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, "When did we give you something to eat or drink? When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear or visit you while you were sick or in jail?"
The King will answer, "Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me." .......Matthew 25

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Testing out the D'light S20

One of the high school students we are supporting, lives in a home without electricity. He does is homework at home with the aid of a small kerosene lamp. So I thought I would check out other sources of lighting he may be able to use. Without power, the only, and most obvious choice is the use of solar battery powered lamps. Online searches pointed out an apparent solution,the d'light S20. It puts out about 25 lumens, which seemed a bit dim to me. And they are not cheap. In any case, I bought a couple to test.

This is one lamp suspended about 2 feet off the table.
This is 2 lamps.

Verdict: One lamp is barely adequate. Two is off course much better.
Cost: US$18.95 for each lamp. Shipping not included.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Boeung Rial (Foating Village) update - a joy to behold!

Bringing a school to the floating village, Boeung Rial had always been a challenge. When we finally constructed the floating school for the village we had to deal with the problem of getting teachers for the school. The journey there for any teacher, no matter how dedicated, was challenging. We eventually developed a funding mechanism to support the salary and transport allowances for two teachers to go to the school and teach for 4 sessions a week.

What a joy to behold on this trip, how the classes had taken root. The teachers were a wonderful pair. In particular, the old gentleman who was a retired police officer was so wonderful with the children. It was a real joy to see how the children responded to him, and how eager they were to volunteer to practice their lessons in front of the class.

Praise God!

 Waiting for school

 School bus

  Floating school


So proud of her!

Tablet technology
Happy kids

Sunday, November 4, 2012

School@Chhom Trach - 7 years and going strong!

The very first school we built in 2005, was at a very poor village called Chhom Trach. Now, 7 years down the road, the school is going strong. A couple of years ago it was struggling through a rough patch with a rather amotivated teacher. We had to "incentivise" the government appointed teacher, and appoint one of our own (a retired Christian principal from another school). Now the school is bustling with activity, and the kids seem happy and keen about their schooling.

The school now runs 3 sessions (2 in the morning and one in the afternoon) in  2 classrooms for Grades 1-4.  Grades 3 and 4 are a combined class because of the lack of teachers. There is also a problem of parents often pulling the kids (usually the older ones) out of classes in the afternoon because of work in the fields. We have decided that we will supplement the salary of another teacher/session so that Grades 3 and 4 can be run as separate classes. Then move the older classes to the morning.

The kids continue to receive a free meal once a week. This costs us about US$140 per month.

Supporting the school in Chhom Trach costs us a fair bit. If you feel you can contribute to this effort, please write to me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Floating school@Boeung Rial in need of repairs

How quickly time has passed. Once we had fretted about whether we could actually get the idea of the floating school (literally) off the ground. Now it's been almost two years since we floated the school at Boeung Rial. During the last big floods last year, the school had morphed temporarily into an ark for some of the struggling frightened families.

We visited Boeung Rial just to get a feel of how things had progressed and whether or not the school had been rightfully been returned to the community as a school.

Our worries were unfounded. Juhan, the man entrusted  with the task of looking after the school had done a marvelous job. The school was back to its original function.There are a fairly constant 25 students who come regularly. Juhan had assured us not to worry, saying that he would die to protect the school. Somehow, I believe him. But he shared that vandals (probably drunks) sometimes try to cause trouble for the school by cutting the anchoring ropes. Also sometimes, the storms are too strong for the scrub branches where the school is tethered to. Each time the school loses its mooring, he has had to re-tow the school back. Sometimes there is not enough help, and the gasoline cost of towing the school has begun to be a financial burden for him.

Now, on top of replacing the frequently vandalized anchoring ropes, it is also apparent that the bamboo and oil drum floats of the school need repairs. This is clearly going to cost.

The task for us now is to raise the money to repair the bamboo and the oil drum floats and to provide Juhan with some financial support to pay for the gasoline needed by the boats to tow the school around.

Friday, December 9, 2011

So pleased that the folks have taken up the task of cleaning out the wells for the villages. Started on 28th November. Over 6 days they have cleaned a 100 a cost of US$7.50 per well.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ark @ Boeung Rial

Floating in about 4ms of water. The vegetation at back is actually the tops of  a copse of gum trees.

When we built the floating school at Boeung Rial, we never realized how God will eventually use the school.

The recent floods have pretty much driven the villages from there homes.The flood waters have risen the water levels so that there few areas left for the villagers to deploy their homes. We visited the small cluster of homes that had managed to find a shallow strip of land. Even so, the villagers shared that they were scared to remain in their homes at nights when the winds were strong. A few families had sought refuge in the floating school, which for them represented the only stable, safe and secure refuge from the rains and floods. School had essentially ceased during this time because the teachers have been unable  make the trip in to the school.

Swee Oon will be pleased to learn that the floating school is finally really floating in about 4 metres of water.

Well rehabilitation after the floods

Now that the floods waters are beginning to recede, the important task is to start rehabilitating the open wells that have been over-run by the flood waters. This is critical as the contamination of the wells by human and animal faecal wastes have rendered them quite toxic for human use.

We are starting the slow process of well disinfection in the Baray vicinity as the wells become uncovered. The following describe how such disinfection can be carried out. It is not a precise method but is probably adequate, and better than doing nothing. We used similar methods in the 2000 flood, and found it quite effective.

Equipment needed:
Pump 5.5hp pump with 10m of tubing
Chlorine powder S70 (calcium hypochlorite ~70%) - be careful as concentrated chlorine can be corrosive
Large pail
Knotted rope at 10cm intervals
Long pole
Plastic sheet
2 or 3 helpers

1. Pump out as much well water as possible. The less water remaining, the less chlorine you will need. It will not be completely drained as water will continue to accumulate while you pump. Just do the best you can.
2. Measure the depth of remaining water. You can do this using a rope tied to a weight. The rope can have a painted mark, or a knot every 0.1m.
3. Estimate the amount of chlorine to be used ( according to the Table below). The amount will depend on the depth of water and the diameter of the well.
4. Mix the chlorine powder into a large pail of well water.
5. Pour the mixture into the drained well, and try and stir using a long pole if possible.
6. Cover the well with a plastic sheet.
7 Leave the well covered for about 24 hours (meanwhile, DO NOT USE THE WELL). During this time also do not try to enter the well as the chlorine fumes may be overpowering and toxic.
8. The next day. Pump and empty the well again, as much as possible. Again, be careful of chlorine fumes which have accumulated in the closed environment of the well.
9. Let the well water re-accumulate naturally over the next 24 hrs
10. The well should now be able to be used, if the strong smell of chlorine has disappeared.

The following Table gives the approximate amount of Chlorine powder to be used depending on the diameter of well and depth of residual well water. For example: if well diameter is 1.5m and depth 0.5m, it will reference cell "I10", which is approximately 16 tablespoons.