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

Friday, December 14, 2007

Chhom Trach

About 5 mins north of Phum Baray village, the highway meets a T-junction at Kpg Thmor. Cotinuing northward will lead towards Siem Reap, while heading south will end in Kpg Cham. The villages of Ta Prot and Chhom Trach lie a little west of the road heading south.

We had done a medical-dental mission in Ta Prot some years back. Setting up under a spreading tree and working from the back of small lorry, we were even able to sneak in some evangelism during the health education talks. Later we were told of a really isolated and poor village called Chhom Trach.

The access to Chhom Trach was via a poorly maintained dirt track. The final approach to the village was interrupted by a ditch we had to wade across, and we completed the journey on foot. We set up to offer a simple medical-dental clinic under a tree, but had a relatively poor response because the villagers were apprehensive of the clinical procedures. But we were there long enough to appreciate how destitute the villagers were. The village was at that time badly affected by the drought. Poor crops had been made worse, and the villagers despaired. The only access to water was the river which ran about a kilometer away. Isolated not only by poor road access, the villagers were also shunned because of their past association with Khmer Rouge and bandits. Now desperately trying to to survive and rehabilitate themselves back to normality, they were increasingly devastated by the drought. Seeing how desperate the situation was, on a second visit in October 2004, we committed to raise money to put a small school as well as a bore-well in the village. Despite the isolation of the village Ps Pumot had already made prior contacts with the village and a small house church was meeting regularly. The village had approximately 90 families and over 200 children, all of whom were illiterate.By God's grace we were able to raise the USD10K needed for the school and well, plus a toilet and school desks. In 2005, the new village school was commissioned. Subsequent follow up visits to the village was extremely heartening as it was clear how much the village has been transformed by this school and well. Children were clean and healthy because of the well. Where there was just despair, hope was written all over the faces of the villagers. Most importantly, the children had begun to attend and enjoy their school.


khenghai said...

One of the legacies left behind by the early missionaries to Singapore is education. Schools like ACS, MGS, Anglican High School just to name a few have given us many Christian leaders.

I pray that in years to come we will find Christian leaders in Cambodia who will attribute their conversions and discipleships to the years they spent in schools like the ones built by the Cambodia Build-a-School Project.

edmund jd lee said...

Being a beneficiary myself as a student of the Anglo-Chinese School, I can certainly agree with those sentiments. The Methodists are very good at doing this and they also have a strong presence in Cambodia with respect to schools and education. Currently though, a lot of effort is going into Phnom Penh. This is a good thing, but the villages lag so far behind. My worry is that as the citi-fication of Cambodia eventually reaches the villages, the children there will, in their illiteracy and innumeracy, be so helpless and vulnerable if we don't give them the education necessary to get jobs, or even just to survive in a modern globalized environment.