Sao Visit

Battambang Travel Blog

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Us and Sao's family

Today we went with the World Vision staff to go and visit our sponsor child Sao. It was a 2 hour ride out there in their truck. It is a very isolated area with one bumpy little red, dusty road and it's one of the most heavily mined areas of the country.

For safety World Vision no longer lets people go to the childs actual village so you meet at the World Vision's office in her area. She's 11 with an 8 yr old brother  and 2 year old sister plus her mom and dad were there. It was so awesome to meet her and her family! It was a little awkard trying to ask questions through an interpreter but I think it went really well. We had a little impromptu photo session where everyone kinda relaxed a bit and the family seemed glad to have their photos taken as they probably don't have a lot of pictures of themselves.

Sao's family.
I also found out that they had received a box I had put together for Sao on my last trip to Cambodia so that was awesome- I think they were able to list off every item that was in there! She had even made me a thank you card- with the pencil crayons in the box and everything but with all my moves I guess it was sent to the wrong address.

Her parents are farmers and she helps take care of her brother and sister and helps do some work around the house and farm. They are very poor- but everyone seems healthy- the kids are so cute. The older ones go to school- most kids around here only go part days because there are too many kids and not enough school/teacher to go around. They are at a fairly big disadvantage even compared to those that live in Battambang 2 hours away.

Sao and Amy.
 Battambang is the 2nd biggest city in Cambodia and has a university, hospital and there are better schools including English schools.  It is a huge advantage here to speak English as it is far easier to get a job with all of the tourists/NGO's in the country.

Where Sao lives most people have tiny little thatched huts, most farm- rice mainly but also corn, soya beans, peanuts, etc. Saos family has 2 cows, chickens, dogs, cats, etc. The dad has to go to Battambang a few times a month to sell/buys things but it sounds like her mom/kids may only go once every year or two due to the expense. We were struck by the poverty when we came to Battambang and then after visiting Sao and seeing how much poorer that area is Battambang seemed wealthy when we got back.

Sao's and her brother and sister.

After having luch with Sao and her family we had to say goodbye and went on a tour around with the world vision staff to see their projects in the area. I wasn't really to interested in this initially but it ended up being pretty interesting. We walked around a canal they had dug that provides water for farming and other use to farmers in the area. While touring around this we walked just beside an uncleared minefield. There were signs all over to mark the area as dangerous but everyone is so poor here that the area is still being farmed by rice farmers. Sounds like amputations are fairly frequent still and some farmers were also killed a few months ago. Many people here are missing limbs- some multiple. We also seen some women clearing the mines (this is all done by women for some reason).

Amy with Sao and Sao's brother and mother.
They use metal detectors to find them and then explosives to destroy them. I think they had so far found about 110 in this minefield over the last year. It's very slow work too- it has taken over 1 yr to clear 3 hectares and this field alone has 14 hectares so you can understand the poor farmers not wanting to wait 5 years to make money for their families.

After the canal we visited a World Vision school- this was a bit uncomfortable as the director of the school and a number of members of the community came and we all sat awkardly at a meeting and heard how this new school was doing and what was still needed and lacking in the area. We felt a bit inadequate- but definitely the projects in the area do look like they make a big difference in the lives of people here. We ran out of time unfortunately to see the health centre and headed back to town.

PS:When Sao's dad asked when we would be back Wes told them we loved Cambodia and the people here and that we would be back sometime...YAAY!

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Us and Saos family
Us and Sao's family
Saos family.
Sao's family.
Sao and Amy.
Sao and Amy.
Saos and her brother and sister.
Sao's and her brother and sister.
Amy with Sao and Saos brother and…
Amy with Sao and Sao's brother an…
Sao.
Sao.
Lunchtime in Samlot.
Lunchtime in Samlot.
Amy, Wes and the world vision guys.
Amy, Wes and the world vision guys.
The world vision ride.
The world vision ride.
World vision tour.
World vision tour.
Another quality pose.
Another quality pose.
Watch your step.
Watch your step.
Still farming despite the warnings.
Still farming despite the warnings.
Nice scenery.
Nice scenery.
More Posing.
More Posing.
Papayas.
Papaya's.
Amy at the Durian farm.
Amy at the Durian farm.
Scenery in Samlot.
Scenery in Samlot.
The view on our moto.
The view on our moto.
filling up the bamboo train
filling up the bamboo train
putting the train on the tracks
putting the train on the tracks
Our sweet ride.
Our sweet ride.
Climbing up the Bayon stairs.
Climbing up the Bayon stairs.
Some posing in Bayon.
Some posing in Bayon.
Battambang
photo by: Mezmerized