Traveling Dirt Roads
New Homes Under Construction
The boys dormitory is expected to be finished and put to use by the end of July. The girls dormitory, which has not started construction, is estimated to be completed in 4 to 5 months. Once the new buildings are completed and the children have moved in, the original facility will be turned into a community center.
Original Children's Home
After checking out the site for the new buildings, we drove to the original children's home. The two sites are about a 1/4 mile apart.
Upon arriving, we introduced ourselves to the leaders of the home, Pastor Vanndy and his wife Chhay Tavy. They have been serving at the home for over 10 years. The hosts were very friendly and hospitable to us, and the children were in great spirits to have visitors.
The original children's home is certainly very old and run down in some parts. In particular, the building where the girls sleep is very small and congested. It is a two-story building, with the 2nd floor in beaten up shape. The wooden floorboards on the 2nd floor creaked when I walked on them. The 2nd floor consists of a large porch area and a single room. During the rainy season, water leaks uncontrollably, forcing the girls to have to stay on the 1st floor. The 1st and 2nd floor are accessed by a newly built metal stairwell that is supposedly a marked improvement over the old one.
The ages of the children range from 4 to 18. Some are orphans, abandoned by the parents. Some are from extremely poor families who simply do not have the means to take care of them. There are currently 39 children living at the home, with boys slightly outnumbering girls. Most of the children have sponsors, but there are several that are still waiting to be sponsored. I met one particular boy who was very small in stature. I was shocked to find out that he is 18 years old. I thought he was 10 or 11 based on his physical make up.
As for the boys, they are currently living in an adjacent building. The boys dormitory is substantially roomier than the girls. Because it is a single story building, light is able to enter during the day and keeps the room well lit. There is also much better ventilation in this room than the girls' room. This building is newer than the other so it is in much better condition. That building used to be a church sanctuary where the local Christians met on Sundays. Once the boys moved in, church services have since been held in the courtyard under the roof of the girls building.