The rainy season in Mae Hong Son means downpours, fast-changing weather and wet shoes. Visiting during this time has given me a great insight into just how difficult it is to carry out the vital work that KHT do for the Karen people. This week our team travelled to remote villages in the Mae Kong and Sao Hin areas to visit older projects with a representative of a long-term funding partner. The drive in our 4×4 vehicles was bumpy and traversed through muddy mountain roads, river beds and winding highways. We got a little stuck in shallow waters during our and were very kindly helped out by other truckers passing through whilst transporting truckloads of cows. Our journey also took us past many irrigation structures built by KHT (see featured image) and the fields they are helping keep active.
The scenery is truly beautiful with lush forests and rice paddies that seem to have every shade of green possible. However, the villages in these areas are isolated, with people entirely reliant on subsistence farming to eat and often struggling to access clean water and other necessities. Cell phone signal is non-existent and access can be cut off in an instant for days at a time due to rain.
“Delivering the projects here is very difficult. The roads mean we cannot bring everything in our trucks, and we need to get a bigger one. It means that the price of everything goes up too. But the villagers, they need this help. They are very happy when we come as no one else comes to help them here.” – Salahae, Programmes Director
KHT’s WASH projects have allowed villagers to improve their health, access clean water easily from their homes, and have latrines built for families to use with dignity and safety. Our irrigation projects have kept farmlands operating regardless of the season and helped improve food security and household incomes.
KHT were welcomed into these communities with kindness and gratitude and we were able to speak with some villagers and people on the local water committees. They expressed how much the projects have improved their lives and they also let us know what they still need to ensure healthier lives for themselves and their families.
“We can use the fields more and better. We can also sell some of the crops to make money for other vital needs such as medical care or school.” – Villagers in Hao Sin area
After being hosted by the local Catholic church for one night, with the potential of rain trapping us in the area, we made our long journey back to Khun Yuam. KHT’s projects have helped people for many years and I can truly appreciate just how difficult it has been to deliver WASH and irrigation projects in areas with little to no infrastructure, communication channels and hours from any economic centres. Despite the logistical difficulties and rising costs, KHT has made a difference in thousands of lives that are too often forgotten and with your help, we can reach many more!
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