From Svai to Dubai

It’s never easy saying goodbye when you know there is no sure prospect of meeting again. Our Sisophon family made the occasion more a festival party than a final parting. We were entertained the whole day with a grilled fish lunch, siesta, walk through the village to the river, evening meal and disco before being escorted in grand style by three motos carrying seven people to bid us fond farewell at our hotel door.
The following day saw a flying visit from Chan Leap to the bus station to deliver freshly made rice-soya milk for the journey. Green mango and chilli-salt added more local flavour. Facebook and text messages ‘missing you already’ followed us on our way until we crossed the border at Poipet and our Cambodian SIM card sadly died.
The contrast between our worlds is stark but our hearts remain closely joined. We were fortunate to remain well on our travels but have been reminded of the great risks to health here. Tragically Tarak’s sister died in childbirth 3 months ago. We visited Mongkul Borei and met some of the midwives and doctors to give Hilary a flavour of working here but could not discover what had happened to her. Surgeon Dr Phally needs a textbook but cannot buy or order reliably online here. We can source and send to him – an opportunity to repay the debt I owe him for rescuing my very sick patient 18 months ago.
Mono is ever grateful for the wonderful facilities for poor sick children at Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital in Siem Reap. His sister Chi Chi had severe dengue aged 14 and was treated there without cost. This is possibly the only hospital in the developing world offering the full range of maternity and paediatric services at western standards at no cost to the poor and it deserves our support. I commend it to those of you seeking a charity for 2013. We gave our customary units of blood in addition to our dollars when we attended Beat Richner’s fund raising cello concert once again. Sadly there is no equivalent safety net for poor adults who fall sick here.
The contrast continues for us as we travel by rail through Thailand (there is no passenger train in Cambodia) the standard of the railway improving as we enter Bangkok and finally transfer to the airport link. The bar is further raised for comfort on our Airbus 380 journey to Dubai and incredibly, an upgrade to first class for the final leg to Manchester. If I am not ready for work on Thursday it’s not Emirates’ fault!
Our bodies are being pampered but our hearts are a little sad and somewhat left behind with a lovely family in dear dusty Sisophon. And I guess this may be the only time I upload a blog from the A380…


Hilary on the Aranyaprathet to Bangkok train


No trains in Sisophon yet – just us and some local youngsters


Hilary and Chan Leap pose by the river in Svai


Bicycle repair man and family, Mongkul Borei (and random persons left and right!)



1 Comment

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One response to “From Svai to Dubai

  1. Teddy

    I can see from the photographs that your hearts were very much there with the people. What an incredible trip and experience and the lives of many enriched by your visit as yours were by them. How our God interweaves our lives on this earthly journey to touch and be touched by the lives of others. And an upgrade! You are becoming seasoned 1st class travellers! 🙂 A beautiful way to end an amazing visit. Lots of love to you and Hilary.

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