Our next stop was Kompong Chhnang [Clay Pot Port] in the south of the country, and a very different experience. Here, Fathers Franco and Viney minister to a mixed Vietnamese/Khmer community spread over a wide area, many of them living in floating villages on the Tonle Sap River, effectively ‘water gypsies’ with all the attendant problems of itinerant living. We visited the floating village of Kompong Luong, which has the amenities of any village [shops, hairdresser, bakery, garage etc].. but all on boats!! There is also a floating church and a school, run by New Humanity, an Italian NGO [Non-Govenment Organisation]. All NGO schools in Cambodia are well run, much better than the state schools and this was no exception – as you can see from the pictures below. New Humanity also specialise in provision for the mentally disabled and we were privileged to be be invited to attend the Activity Fun Day, run monthly for all the disabled of the area – the first foreign group to be invited. Games and a session on ‘how to wash your hands’ was followed by a rice meal and dancing, attended not just by 80 disabled youth but also by many local people – the Cambodians can never resist a party!
next chapter…..the final journey: Svay Sisophon & Poipet