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

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tropeang Russei - a reality check

Tropeang Russei turned out to be much farther than had been anticipated, although large stretches of the road weren't as bad as we had thought so we were able to move along at a reasonable pace. Still, there were stretches where the going was tough. All in the driver estimated about 300kms of dirt tracks that we covered during our expedition. But that included 2 failed attempts to reach Svaychak, a village beyond Touk Pii we had wanted to visit. The tracks even in dry weather, proved impassable for our yellow bus.

Our wonderful yellow bus. The driver was really superb in navigating us through these often treacherous tracks.

Tropeang Russei turned out to be a resettlement village in process of forming up. The provincial government had apparently allocated a large swathe of land for handicapped veterans and their families to occupy. On paper there were approximately 370 plots of land allocated out.

I think most of it went to relatives of veterans rather than the veterans themselves. Most of the allocated plots have not yet been occupied. The land seemed rather inhospitable as there was little in terms of steady water supply for irrigation of crops. The current occupiers eke out an existence through a fledgling charcoal 'factory' and foraging in the nearby forests for valuable woods to sell. This unfortunately pits them against nearby villagers as they compete for the same resources. The impression we got was that they weren't really on good terms with their neighbours. There apparently is already a school only about 1.5kms away. The village leadership wanted to press for a school and a dispensary/nursing station for their own village, and expected that these facilities would encourage the other allocated families to move in.

Given the uncertainty with respect to the future of the village, we felt that it was not timely for us to place a school in Tropeang Russei. Perhaps at a future date, when the village is a bit more mature, we can reconsider the options.

We took the opportunity to deworm the kids

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