Ban Houay Khan and Sandluangnoi

With the arrivals of Kirsten, a dear friend (and fundraiser too) and David Slocum from the Orillia Rotary Club, we set off to distribute the most recent delivery of water filters.  Houay Khan is located across the Mekong River by car ferry and about a 40 minute drive on good road for a change.  In fact it was quite pleasant.  The village was a Khmu/Lao mix and it went fairly quickly.  What was notable about this village was that it was a Christian village.  In fact our team ate at someones house where they also held services.

House, also where church services are held.  Note the cross on the podium.

2 water filters for the school. It was a Saturday so the primary school students and preschool students were not in uniform

For the next two days, we distributed another 97 filters to the remote village of Sandluangnoi.  The first day was rather tough.  They didn’t have a strong and well respected chief so very few Hmong families showed up.  After a couple of hours of the Khmu leader (Hmong and Khmu village) going door to door, most finally came for the training.  Our team ended up taking back 5 filters and the families were given one last chance to receive a water filter, it the trekked the following day 3km up to the main village.  (most did the trek and we brought the filters back for them of course).  There were a couple of families that refused to go and expected their filters though but were advised to speak with their chief about it.

A very dusty village! Our lungs are still suffering from all the dust in the air. Noted is the extreme poverty. The school room is only thatched roof and bamboo for the half walls.

It was a hot day!

Our small team headed up to the main village further up the mountain and it was a pleasant surprise.  The chief there was engaging, had the respect of all of the inhabitants, participated in the distribution process and was full of smiles.  The upper village was entirely Hmong.  Our team managed to distributed the 57 water filters in about 2 1/2 hours as opposed to 5 hours to distribute 40 the previous day.

It was somewhat of a cloudy day so it was easier to do the training. Siphan is heading it off, with the Hmong chief translating for us. We don’t have a good shot of the crowd – this represents about 20 percent of the group.

It was a bit of a challenge for this young guy to try to hold the water filter on the back of the bike while tying it down with a piece of rubber from a bicycle tire. With a bit of help, we managed to do it.

Typical Hmong Family – average size is around 8-10

Now this is a really young family. The boy is 14 and his wife is 13!

This boy is also 14 and with two children!

Our guests have left now, but Kirsten will be returning at the end of the month to assist with another round of distributions and participate in the water project ceremonial hand-off to the village.  All of the team from the Vancouver area have either had their flights cancelled by the airlines or have decided to cancel their trips to Laos this year, due to the coronavirus scare.

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