Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blogger Bob is Back

Blogger Bob is back

Very busy since returning from Cambodia… mostly keeping warm!! Though I am happy to be back in the land of great burgers I admit I am missing the sandals and t-shirt weather. So much is happening that I must get back to the keyboard and share.

February has been about as busy as a post holiday sale… in addition to building and installing another 200 filters we have had several visitors from Singapore, planning for a video shoot and organization of a significant visit to the lake.

But before all this excitement in February, our very good friend Mr. Lai brought 50… count them… 50 high school students from the Manjusuri School in Singapore to visit and work with us in December. Lots of eager hands!! This is the third year he has brought students… more each time… it must be the food!! They built and installed filters and learned much about the Cambodian culture… so near in miles and centuries away from their world.

In February we had a very different group of visitors from Singapore… 14 international MBA students from INSEAD a very highly regarded “Business School of the World”. As part of their cultural broadening they joined us for a few days and like all our visitors got down and dirty in the concrete mixing and sand cleaning. This was a new experience hosting this kind of visitor. We hope we were able to open some eyes in a group destined to shape other’s views over the next 2 or 3 decades.

Our great friend, counselor and overall lab genius Kevin Curry led a group of Pannasastra students and Water for Cambodia team members back to Moat Kla on the lake to continue working with the village residents. This wasn’t to be a days outing on the lake but a several day working trip across the rapidly ebbing waters of the largest lake in Southeast Asia. Each transit takes about 4 hours from lab to village so the team will “camp out” aboard a large local houseboat under mosquito nets. Rumor has it that Sok Heng will begin his “new career” as a chef this trip… I hope they have plenty of Doctor Jon’s magic little black pills!!!

Before we get to that adventure let me re-acquaint you all with last years work which has just resulted in an exciting accomplishment for one of Kevin’s students. For more details on this work in Dan Run go to http://curry508.wordpress.com/ and scroll all the way down to “Searching for Answers at Dan Run”.

Recently one of the students featured in the posting has completed and submitted his Senior Thesis based on the described work done with our team in the commune of Dan Run where we have installed several hundred filters. KHON Puthea worked with our lab team led by Mieko to investigate the impact of filters on the water quality and health of families by studying a sample of families with and without filters using a common source of water. We are all very proud of the work Puthea has done.

This month the work will center on documenting the impact of BSF intervention for a floating village community by following 40 BSF households that were surveyed in January and by comparing these same households to 40 non-BSF households.  This is an unusual opportunity and we may never get another chance like this again to get this tight of a data set.  Of course we are looking for differences in diarrhea occurrence as always but more importantly, we are looking for differences in hygiene behavior between the two groups. In addition to this, we are trying to document changes in the use of source water in the dry and rainy season to see when and if these households are using BSF water (for BSF households of course) and ADB water (for BSF and non-BSF households).   In essence, they are all using the same source (the lake) unless they switch to a different source when the dry season comes.  This is what makes this study important.  

Each day Sok Heng and Seur will be doing the testing and survey work at Moat Kla in their "mobile lab".   Mieko and Puthea and Kevin will go on the last day and give Sok Heng a break so he can do the alum water treatment education training. Alum can be used to improve the performance of the BSFs when the water gets bad… very silt laden… really, really dirty!!  It apparently is getting bad already with the low water this year. Alum acts to make the silt go out of suspension (flocculate) and settle at the bottom of the vessel therefore reducing the burden to filter out dirt that causes the BSF to clog up prematurely.

For more background and pictures return to http://curry508.wordpress.com/ and read “From the Tiger’s Mouth”… assuming you could resist reading all of Kevin’s chronicle.

The last big doing is the video shoot. We have decided to have a short “youtube” length video made to briefly describe the project work. This “Oscar” threat production will be posted on our website www.waterforcambodia.org and used to help explain what we do to our valuable and treasured supporters. The videographer is Todd Brown, a locally based young man whose work we have seen and liked. He did the video clip used by TLC also. News leaking out of the jungle indicates Sathya has fallen naturally back into his roll as a star of the Cambodian cinema.