This Church Orphan Home is in the most remote of all Cambodian Provinces, Mondokiri. Chomka Te literally translates “Tea Plantation”.Until 2003 this area was best accessed through Vietnam. In 2002 a new highway was built connecting the province to Kraite and Khampong Cham. This area is mountainous and dotted with Rubber Plantations. There is not much paddy rice production and several diverse hill tribes dwell in the area who are traditional “Hunter-Gatherers”. Some of the little remaining virgin timber is in Mondokiri Province.There are no major cities in the province and the total population is only 32,000 people. The largest town, Monourom, is only 7,000 people and is the site of the Chomka Te home.The forested area that covers much of the province is very dense and presents a triple canopy in manyplaces.
The highest level is provided by the large trees, bamboo provides the second tier, and lower vines provide the bottom layer. Slightly less than 1/3 of the population is literate and only 25% of the population has access to any kind of well or piped water, less than 9% of the households have electricity.
The Chomka Te Church was founded in 2002. Most of the orphans come to the home due to poor health care in the region with malaria being the number one cause of death. Childbirth complications and tuberculosis are also major factors in the rising number of orphan children.
A typical day begins as the children awake. Before eating breakfast, the orphans participate in devotions. The school age children either attend classes in the morning or in the late afternoon.
After lunch, most of the orphans take naps, play, study, and take classes in the home. Later, they eat dinner, take care of the homes’ garden and plants, and attend an English class in the home. The Chomka Te family orphans finish each day gathering for church devotions, before setting up their mosquito nets and going to sleep.