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Willie Weir : December 11th, 2012

Photos of the Day — Dec 11

As we crossed the border into Cambodia, we made the decision to follow the Mekong as closely as we could heading south toward Phnom Penh. The main highway is a wide boring stretch that cyclists bitterly complain about.

But the alternate roads, or paths, or tracks don’t connect all the way down river. So we had to go multimodal, and hired a boat and driver to take us to Stung Treng. Since this stretch of river is just below the large waterfalls in Laos, there is little to no boat traffic. This is no easy stretch to navigate. The Mekong sprawls out, and you need to weave through the trees, snags, logs, and sand bars. Our father/son boat team did a marvelous job. -w

I took a ride to visit Mekong Blue, the Stung Treng Womens Development Center and silk weaving training facility and this is the greeting committee.
Heart-stopping beautiful children attend a little kindergarten onsite , while their mothers learn life skills that can help them break the cycle of poverty. The facility now engages enough women and earns enough money through the sale of goods to fund the school in the village for the older children too. Women come from all over the region and spend about 6 months learning the skills to be a weaver or specialize in silk washing or dying. It’s a rare facility that provides education and employment … and it all began with the desire to do something and a $500 loan. -k.

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