We started the day at the new satellite office SP started this year in a district about an hour's drive from Poipet. The main project run out of the office is the BSF project, or bio-sand filter. The BSF is a great tool for providing clean water to households. Basically, it is a concrete or plastic filled with layers of sand. The sand works to trap large particles of dirt, sand, large microbes, etc as the water filters through the sand. Also, layers of microbes will grow on the sand, and these "good germs" eat "bad germs" as they pass through. This link is a great video that shows how a BSF works, animation style.
After visiting the school, the team made one more stop at the illegal border crossing between Thailand and Cambodia, one of many along the border in this area.
Now, when I hear the words, "illegal border crossing", I immediately think it must be a dirty, hidden path, across which people without any documents sneak in order to find day jobs in Thailand. But it was quite different. A police station is set up at both ends of the border, and they monitor the flow of people across the border. Laborers show an unofficial ID card to the police with their name and photo. What makes it "illegal" is the fact that workers don't have border passes, passports, or visas - official documentation that would give them legal rights as workers in Thailand.
We visited around 4 pm, when many people were returning after a long day in the fields. Although our guide had asked us not to take photos while we were standing outside the bus, the police officer welcomed us warmly, then whipped out his digital camera and asked to take a group photo of us.