Posted by David Sauer

Cambodia Project

Following fellowship, Dr. Huston, Ms. Nygaard, and Ms. Bolt Simons discussed their trip to the Battambang region of Cambodia to inaugurate the Faribault Club sponsored Water purification project.  This project is located in a rural village at the village’s school.  Former Faribault Rotary member Sam Ouk who was instrumental in getting the project approved and funded also traveled to Cambodia.  Mr. Ouk and his relatives in Cambodia helped to host the Faribault delegation.  
While presenting pictures of their journey, Dr. Huston stressed how the water purification project was in good hands with our partner club in Cambodia.  Huston explained our partner club was very experienced in managing global grants.  He also highlighted the water purification project had garden and entrepreneurial aspects.  Not only will the children receive clean water, but also the garden associated with the water purification project will allow the children and villagers to grow and consume nutritious food.  The water also will be sold to the villagers and the funds will help make the project more sustainable.
Dr. Huston said the group arrived at the project school on National Women’s Day, a national holiday in Cambodia.  Despite the school being closed for the holiday, some 100 students came to the ceremony to show appreciation for the water project.  One of the students, a young girl, collapsed during the ceremony.  Huston helped tend to her and seeing her, dehydrated and malnourished, it really reinforced to him the value of the water purification and garden project for the Cambodians living in this village.  
Ms. Nygaard discussed some of the tourist sites the delegation saw in Phnom Penh to include the National Museum of Cambodia, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (aka S-21, the Khmer Rouge torture center), and Buddhist temples.  The group also traveled to Siem Reap and visited the magnificent temple complex of Angkor Wat.  
Ms. Bolt Simons spoke of trying to see more of real Cambodia by trying to get away from normal tourist activities.  Traveling with Sam Ouk’s relatives helped in this regard.  She stressed that as a former educator seeing the school, the water project and the students really hit home for her about the importance of the project in providing clean water and food to this impoverished community.
Dr. Huston concluded the briefing by reiterating that our partner club was very strong and capable.  He stressed Faribault Rotarians should be very proud of raising the funds for this global grant project which will make a difference in these children’s lives.  He added that perhaps more global programs can be initiated building on the success of this important project.