Hello from Cambodia,

August was a month filled with new friendships and ongoing Water Project growth. We’re starting to feel more settled here, and we’re finding our places of community and friendship. We are also starting to see a little “fruit from our labor” in the Water Project.

Clean Water Project:

Last month we installed a water filter in a remote church that provides free tutoring and educational support for the poor children in the village. This was another project with the Kampot Pastor’s Association. They have requested filters in many more locations, but we’re currently waiting on some parts that have been ordered from the capital.

Rainwater research:

Many families and communities in SE Asia rely on surface water and shallow wells for their water supply. Therefore, Lukas has started to do some research with rainwater (Lukas used to work in the research department for a pharmaceutical company in Switzerland). As I mentioned last month, he’s tested over 50 wells in Cambodia and only one ever tested safe to drink. Collecting rain is common in rural areas. We think that it might be a safer source of drinking water for some people here, but we’ll find out. We purchased an affordable and locally available water tank from the market and put it on the upstairs balcony. We are now filtering and drinking rainwater 😁.

Our Neighbourhood:

The house that we rent is part of a four-house compound. One house belongs to the owners and the other three are rentals. Benjamin runs around with the neighbour kids and their very protective big black dogs. A few weeks ago we had a shared meal with one of the families, and it felt so good to be in community with our neighbours! The owners are elderly and have household help. These ladies are so lovely! Benjamin likes to help them with garden chores, especially when he thinks that they might give him some fruit 😋. From our house we can walk to several local restaurants, a little convenience store, and even a small motel with a restaurant and swimming pool where Benjamin can swim.

But life is unpredictable, even more so in Cambodia. On August 2nd we heard from one neighbour that the government will build a new road along the river, which would run right through our property. According to Cambodian law, the government owns 30 meters of land on each side of the river. We were also shocked to read in a newspaper article, that landowners must remove all buildings within 30 meters of the river, at their own cost, and before August 15th, 2023. WHAT?!?! Since we are only renting our house, we waited to see what would happen. August 15th came and went, nobody removed buildings, and no road construction started. We were confused, so we went back to our neighbours and learned that the chief of police owns one of the buildings on the river, 😂 and that there “might” be a road built someday in the future, but not now. Of course we wanted to know when, and they just smiled and shrugged and said, “maybe next year, maybe in two years, but maybe never.”

We feel blessed to have such a lovely home and neighbours while we work and live here … and we also know that life is unpredictable. We are thankful for what we have today. ❤️

Kitesurfing and a mini vacation:

The weather is quite good for kitesurfing right now, so we decided to take a few days of vacation. We went to our friend’s resort at the beach where we could kite every day, and also enjoy some fellowship with good friends. It was my first time kitesurfing in waves! We enjoyed the few days away, and came home refreshed.

And that’s it! Here’s the photo link. Oh, and there’re also a few pictures of Benjamin getting his first pedal bike at the very end. 🥹

Until next month,

Jenny, Lukas and Benjamin Graf