With 58 presentations completed and fundraising concluded for the most part, this year’s projects are finally underway. It is hard to believe this is our 11th year!
First off, are a number of our secondary school students shown below. What used to be a single point of distribution and purchasing of uniforms, is now fairly widespread across three districts. Our organization currently supports 13 secondary students and two university students. 4 of these students should graduate this year, including a university student.
School supplies include school uniforms, pencils, pens, rulers, erasers, notebooks, backpacks, along with school fees. There were also a couple of bicycles provided this year to students who needed new ones.
During the last few days, team members delivered 362 water filters to small trucks that were waiting at designated drop-off points, since the roads to the villages could not handle the size of the big truck.
Filters were delivered for the villages of Keaup (Chomphet District), Makphouk and Phathong (Nambak District) and Mokdo (Ngoi District)
The field trip also included 2 new villages to review their needs. Their requests seemed like fairly simple repairs but it was necessary to visit the villages for confirmation. The first village was Phoung Jong who had requested 500 metres of pipe. As it turns out, the river had dried up and they really needed a new water tank, new dam (sourcing from a larger river) and 5km of pipe. $48,000 was a lot higher than what was stated so it will have to wait until next year. Fortunately, there is a river nearby that the villagers are currently using and although it is more work for the families, it will be sufficient. Here are few pictures taken in the village.
The second village that has requested assistance is the village of Nammong. It is on the main road heading towards Thailand. The request was for 1.5km of pipe and the necessary connectors. The village consists of 3 parts, located across an 8km stretch. It is the lower part that needed replacement pipe, along with some new pipe and also for approximately 50 villagers that never had water. That can be done with the current budget.
The field trip was a particularly challenging one with so many villages and attempts to get the villagers together at designated times and places. For the above village, there was a long wait while the upper part of the village celebrated the arrival of electricity to that part of the village, where there was a large party atmosphere and lots of drinking before they could meet with the team members. This was a constant challenge throughout the trip. By the time we made it to the last village for the day, it was already nightfall.
The last village visit was to the village of Sandluangnoi, located way off the main road. It is hard to imagine and likely impossible to make it to the village during rainy season.
With a mix of Hmong and Khmu, everyone gets along well. Without the proper education however, it is a long road to bring the children to a level of education that is in tune with the rest of the country. They sure need a proper school.
This village water project is primarily sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of District 7070 (Southern Ontario) and Private Donors.
In two days, the team will be testing out a new type of water filter, thanks to a generous donor from the Rotary Club of Orillia, to see if they can withstand the rigors of village life. It will be tested in the village of Nalea with 52 families, located in Chomphet District, fairly close to Luang Prabang so we can keep a close eye on them.