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December 19th 2013
Published: December 20th 2013
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We spent a fantastic morning with Trailblazer Foundation, arriving at their office in the morning for an overview, then visiting a village with them. Trailblazer has many related projects, several involving clean water. In addition to digging wells, they sell inexpensive bio-sand water filters. I've seen these around Siem Reap over time at sites including an orphanage and the Peace Cafe, so I was eager to visit homes that used these filters.

After showing us their production area, a test garden, a well, and a mushroom shed similar to one I've visited in Kampot, Scott and Sey jumped in our tuk-tuks and we headed to a village. On the way, Scott described infrastructure changes over the last few years. Not least of these is his ability to call the village chief's cell phone to say we were coming and ask him to meet us. The road was paved most of the way (though enough was not that we got a good bumpy, wet, slippery, potholed red-dirt understanding of how difficult access to villages used to be and in many cases still is).

At the village, we met with the chief, then Scott and Sey took us around to inspect filters. We saw a variety of wells, and they showed us the iron deposits on the insides of the filters, as well as several that needed a simple agitation to increase water flow. They're committed to upkeep on their installed products.

We also saw (but couldn't go into) a library they built. Scott explained that by complying with governmental architectural standards, they then qualified for additional assistance, including books from Room to Read.

The trip was terribly inspiring and Trailblazer seems like a great organization for working with your hands and making a contribution even when language is a barrier.

In the evening we met with Melissa and Matthew, who came to Cambodia from Oregon to run Blossom, a vocational training program for at-risk girls and a companion to Bloom in Phnom Penh. More about Blossom in my next entry.

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