April 26, 2001
Villagers Elders Get Their Wish: Nets for Their Children
By Brian Calvert, The Cambodia Daily
Ros Ruan Commune, Preah Vihear province - Life in this remote
northern region of Cambodia has been tough for villagers.
Hardship is evident in nearly everything, from the dusty soil
that yields mediocre crops to the rutted roads that show signs of
yearly washouts during the rainy season.
And it is evident on the faces of the villagers themselves.
Lifetimes spent toiling in the sun has hardened them, darkened
them. Yet elders say nothing worries them like malaria. They are
old, they say, and have lived their lives. But they are concerned
about the well-being of the children, who, like many Cambodians,
could be susceptible to one of the country's top killers, which
last year accounted for a reported 608 deaths.
On Monday, the National Malaria Center distributed 600 nets
to families from three villages in the commune, alleviating at
least the fear of malaria in a part of the country that has known
a lot of fear.
Up until 1998, it was nearly impossible to reach this
remote cluster of villages, which have been carved out of the
deciduous forest that carpet the region. Khmer Rouge guerrillas
were still active here, the roads were often mined, and ambushes
were not unlikely.
Now, peace and stability have come, and with them some
Neighboring Robib, less than an hour's drive south from
here, is the home of a pilot project by Bernard Krisher, chairman
of Japan Relief for Cambodia and also the publisher of The
Schools are being built here, outfitted with solar panels
and linked to the Internet for education and telemedicine
It was on a trip here to see the Brad Washburn School in
Ros Ruan earlier this year that Krisher was approached by
villagers who told him their concerns about malaria.