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Roadwork Progresses

Progress continues on the village road project.  In the past the road through the village and into the school becomes almost impassable during the heavy rainy season.  We reported in late March the beginning of this long awaited project.  The first phase of the project involved the digging of drainage ditches along side the road and building up the elevation of the road.  There were also three concrete culverts placed under the road to prevent water from flooding over the roads during the heavy rainy season.

Almost all of this work was completed manually with many of the village residents accepting jobs to perform the manual labor of digging the trenches and carrying the fill dirt onto the top of the road surface.  We are hopeful that the wages earned during this time infused some much needed funds into the village economy.

During this time many truckloads of fill dirt and rocks were delivered and dumped onto low spots along the quarter mile section of road way.

Last week, after drainage ditches and culverts were completed it was time for the arrival of heavy equipment to level and pack down the fill dirt in preparation for the final application of a special red clay that is water resistant and is the preferred surface for rural roadways in the Siem Reap area.

We hope you will enjoy the following photographs of the recent activity as Sarin and the road company manager oversee the work of the company’s heavy road work equipment.

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The Road Project Begins

We are very excited that Sarin has finally been able to launch the much anticipated road project.  Since the very beginnings of the school, five years ago, the road into the village and to the school has been a difficult issue.  During the dry season it is merely inconvenient to slowly pick your way around all of the holes and ruts, but during the rainy season the road becomes a major problem for anyone attempting to get into the school.  We have had our share of tourist groups whose buses have sunk into the mud, or simply had to cancel their visit.  Our teachers arrive at school muddy from a slippery fall from their bicycles or motor bikes.  Our students wade through filthy standing water to reach the school, and their parents struggle to get to their jobs in the city and return with food for the family.

Last October we were blessed with a significant donation, which allowed us to start planning this project.  Sarin met with village leaders, who pledged their support.   Sarin met with a reputable contractor and negotiated for a quality job at a reasonable price.

Much of the initial work can be done with manual labor, and our plan has been to hire as many of the local villagers as possible for this work.  Our purpose was two-fold.  We want the villagers to be personally invested in this road project, and we want local families to benefit from labor funds.

The project will consist of installing three drainage culverts to carry the water under the road instead of over the road.  There will be drainage ditches dug and fill dirt used to build up the height of the road.  All of the lowest spots in the road will be built up with an additional foundation of rocks and fill dirt, which will be compressed and graded with heavy equipment.

We hope you will enjoy the first photos of the beginning of this exciting and worthwhile project.

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School House Report – April 2010

“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.” –Demosthenes

Over the past couple of months the Spitler School’s small opportunities are showing signs of expanding to greater opportunities, with the help of many caring people and a talented staff.

We are very excited that Sarin has finally been able to launch the much anticipated road project. Since the very beginnings of the school, five years ago, the road into the village and to the school has been a difficult issue. During the dry season it is merely inconvenient to slowly pick your way around all of the holes and ruts, but during the rainy season the road becomes a major problem for anyone attempting to get into the school. We have had our share of tourist groups whose buses have sunk into the mud, or simply had to cancel their visit. Our teachers arrive at school muddy from a slippery fall from their bicycles or motor bikes. Our students wade through filthy standing water to reach the school, and their parents struggle to get to their jobs in the city and return with food for the family.

A common occurrence during the rainy season – the village road underwater

After completing our classroom construction projects in early 2009 we hoped to raise enough funding to accomplish some significant improvements to the road before the rainy season began in the summer of 2010. Last October we were blessed with a significant donation, which allowed us to start planning this project. Sarin met with village leaders, who pledged their support along with a small financial contribution from some of the larger land owners. Sarin met with a reputable contractor and negotiated for a quality job at a reasonable price.

Much of the initial work can be done with manual labor, and our plan has been to hire as many of the local villagers as possible for this work. Our purpose was two-fold. We want the villagers to be personally invested in this road project, and we want local families to benefit from labor funds. Just as we believe that the school has infused a sense of pride and hope in the village families we want the road to be another clear sign that there is hope for a brighter future, and we want every family in the village to be part of making this better future possible.

We have hired approximately 60 adults and teens from the village to help dig the drainage trenches and move the fill dirt onto the road foundation. Of course the dry season in Cambodia is brutally hot, so the villagers work in the early morning and in the evening. Many bring their lunches and, during the worst part of the day, sleep under whatever shade they can find. Sarin is paying each villager $2.50 per day which is about $.50 more than most labor jobs pay. Over the course of the month-long project we believe that over $1600 will be injected into the village economy.

Continue reading → School House Report – April 2010