Thursday, November 23, 2006

thurs 23rd (no time to spellchack- battery dying!!)

thurs 23rd
today we set off at 7:30 to putang to see an elephant that jack has been treating more or less every day for the past 2 weeks. We took with us some Malaria drugs as we had heard tale last night that a young Mahout had symptoms. On arrival it seemed that the elephant we had come to see was fine and needed no treatment, neither did any of the others. so we asked around about any mahouts with malaria, no one knew what we were talking about- it didn't help that jack and the people he was talking to were not speaking their 1st languages (the phnong have their own language- communication is in khmer) and jack didn't know the word for Malaria. eventually we go through. it turned out that while no one knew of a mahout with malaria, one guy we were talking to had a 4year old girl with a bad fever. we found out that he had gotten her some medicine off the market- it appeared to be pain killers and fake malarine. knowing that the father had been ripped off, and that the drugs we had were not good for a small child to take we offered to take her and her father to the hospital. The father said he had no money (art loi) but obviously we were not going to let that be a problem. so they both got in the truck, and at the same moment a yung mahout came past (on a bicycle) and HE was the kid who had the symptoms we're heard about. Jack gave him the medicine and told him when to take it -he took the 1st dose in front of us - and gave him a bottle of water to take the pills with.

Off we headed to the hospital, in the waiting room some guy piped up that treating a small child was a waste of time. I have words for people like him, i do not know any of them in Khmer - luckily. After seeing one doctor we were sent through the carpark to the kids clinic where we had to wait outside the waiting room as it was full. In the mean time a Septegenerian Phnong lady asked if I would be interested in marrying her daughter- i told her that I have no money and she should try Jack. In the mean time we tried to keep this tiny, wasted looking Phnong girl happy. she sat dead silent, it was pretty difficult trying to get her interested in anything me or jack might have to say - my limited khmer was waster as she only spoke phnong and the only phnong word i know is her name (Eerb) which i learnt today. After some time Me and Jack decided all we hasd was our facial featues. so we both called out her name at the same time and immediately I stuck my tongue out and jack did a sort of Pob-like face. We succeded in getting a reluctant and quickly hidden smile. ut it was deffinitely there at some point and i'd like to think that perhaps she wasn't completely terrifird by us.

Eventually the girl and her father got to see another doctor who wrote out a prescription for anti-biotics and child-malarine, and maybe something else, i've forgotten. but as soon as jack was spotted with them 50% was added on to the price, it went from 2000reil to 3000 instantly. Now, the father wasn't paying (neither was I come to think of it) so I wasn't concerned about him being ripped off (or jack), and 1000reil is about 12.5p so it's really nothing. But the thought of someone lining their pocket and using a 4year old tribe girl with malaria as the bribe was simply too much for me. I know that everyone in the world everyone is ripping each other off, and i know that cambodia is rife with corruption. but to see it happen there and then made me fucking angry. there is nothing i can think that i could have done, and jack said that if anyoone kicked up a fuss then next time the price would go up- or perhaps treatment may even be refused. I had a little walk around the car park to try and calm down as at that point I was definitely the angriest and most frustrated I have been in this country yet. I felt like walking in to the surgery and pointing out one way or another that I am probably a foot taller than anyone in the building. But I know that that is not the right course of action, violence is a terrible thing, and in the long run would just make things worse for any sick Phnong. and i could get shot. I suppose that's another thing about being in a poor country- there's nothing to turn around and smash to pieces when your wound up like that. so i just paced around til they came out with the new medicine.

after that we sent them home on a moto and went to get our breakfast.


At 6:08 pm , Blogger Rachel Smith said...

Hi mate,

Had to fill in numerous fields and sign my life away just to post a comment, but I wanted to let you know the blog is being read and enjoyed!

I can't imagine being in a place like Cambodia, I came back from Russia and burst into tears because of the corruption and poverty, dread to think what I'd feel elsewhere. I guess that, money and the need to keep plugging at the film thing are my main barriers to travelling.

Anyhow, like yourself, whenever it happens it will be for a purpose, don't see the point of being an arrogant tourist. I have a feeling I'll end up in Chechnya at some point in the next few years. Need to learn to bite my tongue first though, otherwise I'll get in some serious trouble!

You take care mate, I'll keep checking the blog!


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