Happy New Years to Everyone…I trust everyone has had their best holiday season ever?
There has been a lot of activity since arriving back to Laos in late November. I have tried to keep up but as you can see, the blog entries have been few and far between. Nursing a bad cold and a touch of bronchitis (along with just about everyone I know here), I am well on the mend but will be wearing a facemask to make sure I don’t pass it onto our guests.
While it was a tough year for fundraising, we had a number of donations come through at the last minute that allowed us to go ahead with the planned water project. With a combination of individual Rotary Club donations, a Rotary District Matching Grant, and many private donors, we were able to raise the funds needed. This was a huge relief. As a result, we have shipped 98% of the materials up to the rural village of Thong Thuen including a little over 9km of pipe.
Once that was done, we had to worry about a planned trip for a large group of visitors, primarily from Canada. Realizing that there was no way our minivans were going to make it up the terrible roads, and that tractors or small open trucks were going to be suitable, the villagers have repaired some of the road damage. Even with that, it was decided to rent 4 x 4’s to give our guests at least some level of comfort…
So next it was our duty to do our Christmas distribution of water filters to 251 families (including one for a school). The villages of Khon Kheun and Thand Khand were completed. One of the villages was located across the river from Pak Jeem that we had done 2 years earlier and the other was a further 45 minutes past Pak Jeem (near the new dam). The last few km’s were a little rough but not as bad as I was expecting. Here are some highlites.
Since then, we have celebrated Christmas and New Years. Meanwhile, the District Water Engineer arrived to the village of Thong Thuen. Every single villager that could work, helped to run over 9km of pipe, through rough terrain and across a small river (a pipe bridge still has to be built across the river) did it in just 2 1/2 days. We received over a dozen phone calls from the village that day. To say they were euphoric would be an understatement. They have only imagined water running to their village, in their dreams.
With running water, the focus is on the dam and the water tank, followed by the tap stations and village piping.
The first of our large group of guests has arrived. We will be receiving many more over the coming days, at which point a new journey begins…stay tuned.