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Published: December 13th 2012
A pictorial description
And so, back in Cambodia, Siam Reap, for a second time in the year. This time, with friends, for a greater cause for the community, as we strive to build Bio-sand filters and pave concrete pavement for the local villages and a nearby community clinic.
Had the opportunity to be part of this group from NUS, in collaboration with Singapore International Foundation, to help the cause of Water for Cambodia, a social organization in helping locals in Siam Reap get access to clean water supply. We had a brief introduction to the background of water sources in Siam Reap and Cambodia in general, and there is definitely a saddening stark contrast with the supply of clean water they receive as compared to us, back home in Singapore. Then, there was a briefing on the construction of Bio Sand filters, our main mission there for 4 days. So what are the Bio-sand filters?
They look surprisingly simple and a relatively cheap solution to provide locals with clean water supply. Just pour in dirty, murky water down the filter, and what comes out is clean, sanitized and potable water. Pretty amazing. Construction process
• Moulding of the water
A noble cause for the Cambodians
filter with cement, that has to be mixed together with all the ingredients: concrete, gravel, sand, water.
• Drying of cement and subsequently de-moulding of the filter to prepare for transportation to villages
• Washing of the biosand and gravel
• Installation of the bio-sand into the filter itself: Gravel in first, followed by the finer grey biosand.
• Water flow test and settling of water in the filter for a few days
• Ta-da! Water filter is ready for use 😊
And so, with the knowledge courtesy of the friendly staff, we head down to the villages in groups and did the installation of the bio-sand filter at the locals' homes. Besides the technical installation, we had interaction time with the locals, especially the kids. Even though there was a language barrier, there was a sense of warmth felt. Gratitude was felt both ways as we completed installation at the designated villages. With both hands clamped together in front of the front, a simple "Aw Kwoon" (Thank you).
We also had the opportunity to pave pavements for a local clinic. It was by no means easy, as I considered it the toughest work in the short 4 days! Through the
Filter no.1 Success!
Locals with Bio-sand Filter
process, we were lucky to witness a local Cambodian wedding and interact with kids along the streets.
The trip was capped with a re-visit to Angkor Wat and a river cruise where there was serenity found in the quiet rivers (as compared to the busy straits in Singapore or Bangkok). Will be back again, I'm sure.
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