It has been a difficult and busy first half of 2016 and we have certainly had our hands very full coping with all the changes that have been unexpectedly thrust upon us. Indeed this post could be pages long but in summary here are the details of the current situation.

Water: We are relieved to advise that the long terrible drought in our area is over (for the time being at least). There has been some long awaited small rainfall over the past weeks, the rainwater harvesters have been flushed out and and we now have water onsite at Kais Village and in Treng Trayoeung Village, albeit extremely limited. However we have nowhere near as much rain as normal for the time of year and we need a lot more, so we are hoping it will come in time as technically speaking we still have a couple of months of “rainy season” left.

The children: Most importantly the children’s heath has began to improve as we move away from using the trucked, well and pond water. Over the past few months the doctor and nurse have been very busy coping from the problems caused by the inevitable lack of proper hygiene. Happily in the last few weeks the myriad of skin rashes, infections and boils that plagued us since February have gradually lessened and shortly we expect all will be cleared up.

The state of the farm: As many know, due to the drought we were forced to cease the majority of work around the farm. We have taken stock and here is a summary of the damage.

Several mango trees (10%) appear to have died and many are looking unwell. About half the banana trees have likewise perished and others are stunted in growth. The jack-fruit trees at the very back of the farm are all surviving but are not expected to produce much until they recover. The older children and our farm manager are at the moment working their way through our newest farm project, the dragon fruit plantation. It appears that the plants in front of house 1 have luckily 90% survived although they have not grown on as much as they would normally have . The adjacent ones on the far side of the creek are in a similar condition. The dragon fruit plants behind the House 1 have not fared so well and many are dead.

We have decided not to replace the damaged fruit trees/plants this year. The tree saplings are  almost always planted at the start of the rains , or during a period of plentiful rain as they need time to “root in”. We don’t think there is going to be enough water. Instead we will focus on what we have.

Sadly it was an easy decision not to even attempt any crops this year – the first time in Kais Village history. However, later in the coming months we hope to be able to plant and harvest some quick crops such as spinach and morning glory as right now we have no extras at all to offer the kitchen.

HIV Outreach in Kampot: The search goes on to find suitable, affordable rental premises for the drop-in centre after we were forced by our landlady to move at impossibly short notice. For the time-being the children’s meals have been stopped but the monthly care packs are continuing as normal. At the same time we lost our small income generation stream “Little Garden Bar and Restaurant” and we are looking for another profitable small business to help support the programme. If anybody has any ideas please do get in contact, we would love to hear from you.

New staff: It’s all change on the medical front with the arrival of our new doctor a few months ago and now a new nurse. more on the two of them shortly in our next post.