We are back in the USA and all of the work that we wanted to get done is complete except for one house which we will repair on the next trip (just ran out of time). Here are the photos of the completed wells. I will post pictures of the 2 repaired homes shortly.
Our Story: My husband, Hong, fled Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge when he was around 5 years old. His father was executed because he was an officer of the military that preceded the Khmer Rouge. He and his family were in danger of the same fate until they escaped and fled on foot into Thailand. They stayed in a refugee camp for 2 years until they were approved for refuge in the U.S. in 1981.
Hong struggled as a child in the U.S. because his family had very little money and most of his siblings were much older than he was and had started their own families. His mother could not sufficiently care for he and his younger sister. An Emory professor, Bryan Noe, and his wife asked if Hong could live with them and they took legal guardianship in order to provide him the care he needed. Living with the Noe's allowed him to flourish in American culture and he went on to college and earned a Bachelor's degree in Education. He then became a teacher and a soccer coach. He continued to keep close ties with his real family the entire time he lived with the Noe family.
Around 2009 Hong and his family received communication that his 2 aunts were still alive and they were living in a remote rice farming village near the Takeo Province. They had several long distance conversations (his aunts would have to take a 20 minute ride on a moped to receive the call). Before this happened Hong had no desire to return to Cambodia. Now he had reason. After losing both parents he desperately wanted to reconnect with his extended family in Cambodia.
Hong and I traveled to Cambodia in 2011 and visited the rice farming village where his family lives. We were appalled to say the least. The conditions they were living in were horrible! They lived in huts with no electricity or clean water. There was only one outhouse type bathroom for the whole family of 20 or more people. Through it all the people that lived here kept smiling and were so happy to see us.
We decided to start our own non-profit organization and raise money to help not just his family but everyone in the surrounding rice farming villages. This is his way of giving back to the ones that were left behind and did not get the same opportunities that he has had in the US.
Ceceilia (Cissy) and Hong Chin
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