We have a plan!
For those of you interested in helping with the Cambodian water project, I am excited to report to you about the progress being made.
To date, we have the first stage of the project (of three stages) drawn up and estimated. Above is a rough sketch of the plan. Our friend Rob admits his artistic abilities might not pass an actual draftsman’s inspection, but we think it’s pretty good! Simple. We like simple.
The plan is to bore a well, which will be used during dry season, and to install a sunken tank to collect rainwater during rainy season. Rainwater will be used when available, saving bore water for the dryer times of the year. A local contractor can bore the well. Right now, the guys believe a deep and large steel-lined bore with a submersible in-line pump will work best for this type of system.
Materials are available 50 miles from the village site. The cost will be about $1,400 for this leg of the project.
Stage 2 will consist of more tanks, including rain water storage tanks, plus plumbing. We also hope to install a steel bench for food preparation as well as hot water for the kitchen. Along with these additions, we want to implement some educational workshops as to how clean water, clean dishes and better sanitation can restore health and prevent sickness.
Stage 3 moves more into sanitation and long-term solutions. Plans include transforming existing ponds into water treatment ponds. This will promote livestock health as well as overall well-being for the village. Also, we want to install a waste system for the coconut oil factory and again provide some education about the importance and long-term care of these facilities.
We have not shopped for costs of Stages 2 and 3 yet, but any money raised and left over from Stage 1 will be used to begin stage 2.
Currently, another volunteer is there replacing “squatty poddies” (in-ground toilets) with western-style facilities. This isn’t part of the water system project, just a nice side note on improvements. In addition, Vuthy, our friend and ministry director, is working with men from the village to resurface dirt roads. The roads get pretty treacherous during rainy season. It’s not easy for children to pedal bicycles and walk through the deep, red mud to get to class, but by golly, they do!
ABOUT VUTHY’S PLACE
I wish I could go into extensive details about Vuthy and his ministry.
To give you a little background, Vuthy is a former tuk tuk (small motor taxi) driver, who drove in the capital city of Phnom Penh. He grew up in his village, where he lives and directs his ministry now, but when he was younger, he went to the city to study and work. He started driving for the Phnom Penh YWAM base many years ago. He was transporting all these foreigners to slums and different areas, watching as they helped in different ways. He started wondering why all these foreigners were so eager to help people in his country. He couldn’t speak to them to ask. He knew little English.
And that’s how his story began.
He started learning English. He met more foreigners. His questions began to be answered. He learned about Jesus … and decided he wanted to meet Jesus, too.
Fast forward a few years. Vuthy felt called back to his home to teach the children in his village English and about Jesus. When I say home, it’s not the same as “home” is with you and me. Home for Vuthy was literally in a house with his mother and father, brother and sister. He was an adult at this time, so moving back home meant moving back to a community of family – his Buddhist family.
He gives all the glory to God for his family’s acceptance of not only him but his entire plan. When I say the entire plan, I mean it. Vuthy’s entire family has now given their lives to Christ and helps tirelessly with the ministry.
ABOUT THE MINISTRY
We first visited the village in 2012. Vuthy was just getting started. He was teaching five English classes by himself every day for kids ranging in ages from 5 to 21, or so. He taught out of a small building his father helped erect as a church and one grass hut. When teams (like ours) came to help, Vuthy’s sister cooked every single meal for us, and his parents gave up their home so we could sleep in it.
As much as I so dearly cherish those two weeks, I also spent more than a year processing what we actually experienced. Too much to describe in one newsletter. What we experienced, though, was a just a glimpse of most of Cambodia, particularly rural Cambodia. Many rural areas don’t have running water, good roads, or great educational facilities, and there’s no sign the government will help improve these types of infrastructures anytime soon. Let’s not even start about medical facilities. Let’s tackle what we can for now.
Vuthy is doing his part by inviting kids to his place to learn. Dozens of kids meander down to Vuthy’s daily to get something no one else gives them for free – an education. Ironically, these kids have a better chance of learning English way out in the middle of nowhere than a lot of kids who live in populated areas. They are a special crew, thanks to Vuthy and his family.
They have created not just a school, but an entire environment. It’s a happy place where children hang out, play sports, learn, laugh, love, worship, pray and are always welcomed wholeheartedly. What started as a strange thought has evolved into a school, a church that runs continuously, a Mercy House that has helped raise orphaned boys, a sports facility and even a coconut oil factory. Why not, right? Coconuts are everywhere!
Two years ago, Vuthy began cultivating coconut oils, bath salts and lotions with the products that grow around him (coconuts!). With the help of some YWAMers and his brother-in-law, he is able to keep the factory going. Proceeds help support his ministry and are sold in locations in Phnom Penh which minister to sexually trafficked women and men.
While the improvements and expansions to Vuthy’s place are truly awe-inspiring, better infrastructure can provide so much more – better health, safety and a model for his entire community. I strongly believe others will follow Vuthy’s lead. At least I pray for that. Please pray with me on that one as well.
Now, I really need some feedback from you:
I had several people respond to my last newsletter regarding the water system. THANK YOU! This is one time I don’t mind one iota asking – begging, pleading – for financial supporters! Feet are on the ground ready to get to work. The only thing missing is funding.
This is where I need your help.
I am thinking of the best way to receive contributions. Sometimes, the easiest way is a Go Fund Me account. People can read about the project and decide if/how much they want to donate. However, there is a small cost for a Go Fund Me account. I don’t mind it so much, but every penny is precious, so I don’t want to use a service that can compromise the project if donors are turned off by the thought.
The other way to donate would be to make contributions directly to our mission fund. Anyone can donate with a debit card or bank account, and there is no charge. The only thing is that it will go into our missions account, so donations would need to be labeled clearly: “Cambodian Water Project.” I don’t see deposits or who they are from, so I might possibly need any contributors to also send me a quick note before they donate. I will transfer funds to our project coordinator when construction gets underway.
I’m going to gather some opinions from you before deciding the best way to go, so please respond with your opinions (about the water project, that is. I will read your other opinions on Facebook and in emails. Haha!). So, Go Fund Me or missions account?
I have butterflies thinking about this project becoming a reality!
Thank you so much for showing so much interest in achieving clean water and healthier surroundings in Cambodia! I look forward to hearing from you soon.