Hi everyone! Sorry I haven’t written anything in two months.
I have been finished with the project since February 22, 2012. For those whom didn’t know, I extended my time here an extra month (total of ~ 7 months) to see the project through and make sure it has the best possible chance to be sustainable. I just arrived back to San Francisco after personal travel for 1 month.
Thank you donors for helping because the surplus funds you contributed went towards my extra month stay (not my personal travel). Tantamount, and the highlight of this blog posting, the surplus funded a training for the rural villages surrounding Wat Opot Children’s Community (WOCC). The target beneficiaries were people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) and/or low income family households. Thus, BRAVO for everyone’s kind donations 8 months ago! Thank you so much.
I planned and coordinated the first community training, which was conducted on 2/20/2012. Twenty Five target beneficiaries representing 15 villages, PLHIV and/or low income family households, were chosen through WOCC’s already existing service community. These 25 individuals are leaders of their respective villages surrounding WOCC. These leaders will hopefully utilize and share what they learned with others in their village.
Basic sustainable agriculture techniques were taught in a one day training and workshop performed by Global Service Corps’ (GSC) partner CEDAC. CEDAC has been promulgating sustainable agriculture and food security in Cambodia for the past 14 years and is a key partner to GSCs and WOCCs work in Takeo province.
The CEDAC Khmer trainer was very impressive, effective and efficient in teaching two styles of composting, three styles of raised beds, and liquid compost. In addition, everyone observed the demonstration center (raised bed, compost, water storage) we built to see the beneficial results of using these valuable techniques. These techniques can be especially critical to this province because it is one of the driest and lags behind in agricultural production relative to other regions in Cambodia, if not, most of SE Asia. The itinerary consisted of ice breakers, setting goals and expectations for the entire day, discussion sessions, promulgating sustainability and organic over conventional farming and chemical use, how to utilize feasible and readily available resources, how to form farming groups to sale their produce to CEDAC through market incentives, lunch!, and hands-on training of all techniques, among others.
In summary, the training was successful, community attendees had a fun and fruitful time, and there was chatter amongst all attendees about the possibilities with their new found knowledge. The total cost of the one day training was $269.88 and approximately $238.73 is remaining for a second training. Again, congratulations everyone for donating and giving this community a chance to thrive.
As a reminder, the Demonstration Center consisted of three key sections: 1) demonstration plot/bed, 2) rain water storage pond, and 3) gray water filter system. All three planned sections were completed and are fully functional. Though, the gray water filter system will continually be improved via future WOCC volunteers.
The following pictures is a visual representation of the Demonstration Center progress … a photo time line:
In summary, we generated approximately 751 kg (1652.2 lbs, 0.83 tons) of compost over 8 months from a total of 12 piles. We utilized resources (food scraps, dry leaves, twigs/branches, cow/chicken/pig manure, wood/leaf ash, native soil) on-site. Currently, four compost piles (expected to generate ~ 70 kg on average) are being managed and WOCC has committed to continually build and utilize compost daily. The compost was and is being used to grow vegetables and amend the clayey soil, hence, supplementing food and costs and improving the land.
Final Dance Competition … at least with Brian!
We held a third dance competition with kids of WOCC on the night of 2/21/2012. I am happy to report the joy of the night, the smiles on their face, the show of support for each other, the understanding of working as a team, and the confidence that has grown in each since we started group and individual dance competition 7 months ago. The following pictures and videos should say it all:
Not Goodbye, but See You Later
The work has only begun. GSC hopes to send more volunteers to follow up on partner development and help coordinate future follow-up trainings. Also, WOCC will hopefully conduct monitoring of the 25 individuals whom attended, however, all depends on more funding. As for me … I would like to go back to WOCC annually so I can work directly with the children and the surrounding community via another environmental day as well help WOCC further develop their organic gardens.