|The Chlong home is located in the town of Chlong in the province of the Kratie. It is one of the most picturesque in Cambodia.Chlong is located on a high bluff overlooking the Mekong River with French colonial buildings along the waterfront. Kratie is the major city in the province and has a population of about 80,000, which makes up about 30 percent of the provincial population. Within the province there is about a 60% literacy rate and only 9% of the population has attended secondary school.Almost 41% of the population is under 14 and 40 % of the women over 50 are widows. Only 14% of the homes have toilets, just one of the reasons for the poor state of health care in the region. Most of the population is involved in subsistence agricultural production of upland rice and vegetables with livestock production consisting of a few chickens, a couple of pigs and possibly a cow or team of oxen. The Chlong church is pastored by Arn Sokha. Each morning the kids, accompanied by the staff members and caregivers, wake up at five o’clock and participate in morning devotions. After devotions they sit down to their usual meal of rice porridge. When they are finished with eating, the younger kids gather their school supplies and walk 2500 meters to school. The older kids carry out their daily chores such as cleaning rooms, washing dishes, washing clothes, helping prepare the vegetables, and feeding the animals. At noon the young kids come home and the older kids go to school. The main contributing factors to the overwhelming orphan population are deaths due to childbirth, landmines, violence, and diseases such as malaria, dysentery, dengue fever, and AIDS. With the highest HIV infection rate in Asia, death due to A.I.D.S is becoming the number one cause of orphaned children in Cambodia. In the evening, after dinner, all the kids gather for evening bible study. This is a special time of reflecting and discussing the day. In addition, it is not unusual for all the kids to join in a few songs of worship. Just before bed the kids review their lessons from school, and at eight thirty, it’s time to sleep!
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