Friday, June 3, 2011

Two funny things and one sad thing.

1. A few days ago I was running (for exercise) and I saw a water buffalo make a break for freedom. Water buffaloes are pretty massive. This farmer was leading two waterbuffalo down a slight incline and one of the water buffalo used its massive inertia to break free. Up until then I don't think I've ever seen a grown water buffalo do more than walk slowly. But this guy sprinted across the field. He made it about 500 meters before he stopped. Either he thought he had gone far enough or he got tired. I think the latter is likely since they don't move much on a regular basis. A sedentary lifestyle will not get you very far.

2. Today, this child was the last patient of the day. The kid was clearly malnourished and the entire time he was passed out, being held by his mom. He was sleeping, but the kind of sleep where you can tell he's tired cause he probably hasn't eaten much in a while. On his head was a large rash that ranged from his ear lobe to the top of his shaved head. There was scabbing where he had scratched and also some kind of crust that the mom may have applied as a traditional cure. I saw her waiting to get meds so I try to chit chat a litte. Always awkward. Typical conversation questions here are things that you would never ask in America, sometimes it's actually illegal. So I asked, what village are you from, what's wrong with your kid? I still remember how awkward it was the first time I had to ask those questions. It just seems sort of wrong to make chit chat when there's a starving child in front of you and no one seems to be doing anything about it. The midwife comes out and asks her how she got here. She rode on the back of a vehicle. By vehicle I mean an engine attached to a metal cart, literally. She begged them for a free ride and they let her off at the Wat. Then she walked to the HC carrying her kid. To get back she has to beg someone else for a ride. The midwife gave her 1000 riel, the equivalent of 25 cents. It costs maybe 5000 Riel, about 1.25 to get back. Plus, she didn't have the health insurance so she paid 1500R for the meds already. I was on my way out so I walked with her back to town, we were going the same way. Along the way I asked her about her family. She was pregnant with her 3rd child. From what I could understand she begs for a living, at least right now she does because one of the temples is having a festival that attracts a lot of people. On the walk, I gave her 5000R. I gave it to her because I knew she needed it. Because in the end the only thing that will solve her problems is more money. Education, health insurance, other schemes will not do anything if she doesn't have more money. It sort of just seems so futile to try to fix things when no one can even really touch the biggest issue. When we parted she reached out for my hand and wished me good fortune and to meet again. I don't know if she held my hand because I gave her money or if it was because I walked with her. I always hope for the latter but I don't blame her for the former. It's a bit ironic that her trip to the HC made her almost as much money as she would make working in the rice fields all day.

3. So, I've been teaching in the villages these past few weeks and as an icebreaker I have everyone go around and tell me their names, favorite vegetable, and whether they prefer cats or dogs. I was in a village last week when halfway through the activity a woman replied that she doesn't know if she likes cats or dogs cause she's never eaten a cat before. The villagers had thought I was asking if they preferred dog meat or cat meat since the previous question was about vegetables. I had to clarify that the question was whether you loved dogs more or cats more. I could see that everyone thought this was a much more appropriate question.

No comments:

Post a Comment