Story by: Hun Hieak, Southeast Regional Program Officer
It is wet season in Cambodia as rain has been pouring since June. Like many Heifer International project participants, Lang Sophea and her family are busy at work at the field to plant rice on two hectares of their rice land. The way of rice cultivation in Cambodia is that farmers sow rice seeds on a good prepared plot of land. One month after growing, rice seedlings are collected to transplant on another rice paddy, which is plowed and prepared. The farmers transplant two to three stalks of rice seedlings in a space between 20-30 centimeters each, so that the rice stalks will multiply to big clumps.
Sophea’s husband Dok gets up early each morning at 5:00 AM. Dok goes to work at the rice filed about 2-3 kilometers from their house, with help from their children who had vacation from school, while Sophea is busy at her business in the grocery shop. Around 11:00 AM, Sophea prepares food and brings it to her family members at the field, and then she returns to continue her work at the shop. Her husband and children spend a full day working at the field until 5:00 PM. It takes them one month to complete their rice cultivation. However, Dok goes to the field everyday to take care of their rice, controlling water, destroying weeds, scattering fertilizer and so forth. They expect to harvest their rice yield in November.
Besides farming, her family also focuses on their livestock production as a source of income. Last month, one of her two sows gave birth to five healthy piglets. The household takes good care of the pigs, giving swine-fever vaccine and iron-Fe 200 injections with help from community animal health workers. So far the family also has 40 chickens, remaining from home consumption and sale. During the last three months, Sophea’s family is also able to earn additional income from selling bananas planted around her house. She plans to grow water spinet for home consumption, for supporting her shop, and for animal feeds. With saved money from the household’s incomes, the family could build a small house, 4.5 meters by 6 meters and 1.5 meters high, with a metal-sheet roof and wooden walls. The life of Sophea’s family has been gradually better after the family received 15 chickens, horticultural and vegetable seeds, fruit-tree seedlings, agriculture equipment, and trainings from the project as a tool to improve their food security.
Sophea is also very happy with the good result of her children’s study as they all passed exams to attend new class this year. Her daughter, Thearom, passed her exam to study at grade 7, her third son Theara – at grade 6, and her youngest son Theary – at grade 2.
“Words cannot express how happy I am to pass the exam to study at grade 7,” said Thearom, “This comes from support of my family, especially, my wonderful mother who always gives encouragement and support. My parents work hard to get money for paying our scholastic materials and inspire us to study harder to achieve our dream. Thanks to mother and father; I love you.”
Editor’s note: This post is part of a series that follows the progress of specific families, starting at the beginning of their work with Heifer. Today’s post is the third in a series of quarterly updates on the progress of Lang Sophea and her family.