180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita,
Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City,
Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats & Florence.
Oregon Coast Winery Owner Makes a Difference
|Nehalem Bay Winery, on the north Oregon coast
(Nehalem, Oregon) – One Oregon coast businessman
is making a world of difference in a small town in Cambodia, and he’s
offering others the chance to help out as well.
It’s much more than charity for the tiny village
of Chheneng, in the Mondulkiri province of Cambodia – an impoverished
place populated by the Pnong, an ethnic minority that suffered much under
regimes of the last century in both Cambodia and Vietnam. The village
has no running water or electricity, and they have little to eat on a
regular basis, mostly foraging in the jungle for food.
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Nehalem’s Ray Shackelford has been helping out with
donations and strategies that have given them a means to help themselves
– much more than just a handout. Along with Shackelford, a man in
town known as Elephant and his brother-in-law Sen Heng, villagers have
built two schools, another well for the people, and a sewing shop that
is helping them on their way to self-sufficiency.
|Shackelford in Chheneng
Shackelford owns the Nehalem Bay Winery on the north coast
and the Depoe Bay Winery on the central coast.
Shackelford first met Elephant in 1992 – a man whose
birth name is Chan Kem Lang. At the time he was a bicycle taxi driver.
“I have seen him – and helped him – go from being a
driver to this year getting his bachelors degree,” Shackelford said.
Heng heads up the construction projects, while his wife
- Sen Ratanna – teaches the villagers how to sew.
|The village of Chheneng, Cambodia
Over those years, Shackelford has poured around $30,000
into helping the village in various projects, which includes helping them
to buy property, building the new well, and creating some bathroom facilities.
One of the schools cost $800 to build, and the other $700 – unbelievably
cheap compared to such costs in the west. Together the schools teach about
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The sewing shop creates small, beautiful handbags, backpacks
and wine bags, made from a silk-like fabric of bright colors and a hint
of iridescence. These are being sold at Nehalem Bay Winery and the Depoe
Bay Winery, allowing the public to help these people.
|Villagers of Chheneng
This last trip, Shackelford was able to hand them $1500
from the bag sales – roughly 15 times the amount of money the entire
village might have at any one time.
The bags run $15 to $25, and all proceeds go to the villagers.
In the past, Shackelford has purchased some rice for them
to eat, and acquired seeds for a garden project so they can grow better
food for themselves.
“The schools were built with local materials, like
bamboo and coco wood, and all the work was done by parents and teachers,”
Shackelford said. “The well was dug by experienced diggers. But
wow, what a bad job that is. Can you imagine digging a 39-inch by 39-inch
square hole in the ground, about 25 or 30 feet deep, by hand, and pulling
the dirt up with just a bucket? Tough and dangerous.”
|Example of the bags for sale at the winery,
made by the Pnong people
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Chheneng is actually divided up into the new one and the
old village, and each has a school for the first time in their existence.
“The old one is about seven kilometers off the highway, and the
highway is kind of a joke,” Shackelford said. “Really, it’s
just a bad road. In the rainy season it can only be traversed by water
buffalo and a cart, or by walking with mud up to your knees. In July I
was able to ride it with a motorbike, but not now.”
The school at the new village teaches only English and
has students from 6 years old to 14. The older village school holds kids
grades 1 – 3, and teaches their language of Khmer.
spends much of the year traveling all over the world, exploring and tasting
new things, like a sort of Indiana Jones for the north Oregon coast. On
his adventures, he has personally grabbed some international interest
in the plight of the Pnong. Chatting with a pair of Dutch teachers in
Berlin, Germany, he got them to donate some money. His son in Texas helped
out financially, as did some of those attending his 50th high school reunion
Shackelford also plans to help create an orphanage
overseas in the near future.
Nehalem Bay Winery is on Hwy 53, between Wheeler and Nehalem. 503-368-9463.
Depoe Bay Winery is on Highway 101 in Depoe Bay.
The bags will soon be available for purchase on the
winery's website, www.nehalembaywinery.com.
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