Yesterday was the most amazing experience for me in Kratie – and I certainly left on a high!
After teaching I met my American journalist friend. She said she was checking out local health centres – something I’d been desperate to do. Aside from my own motorbike accident experience.
Within 5 minutes of arriving a woman gave birth! It was magical! To see new life enter the world and the excitement of the Cambodian family. No modern, western medicine in this world
The back of the hospital
We were both just buzzing with excitement. I sat enthralled as my friend interviewed the midwife. I couldn’t help but burst out the odd question myself – which my friend had to translate for me.
We left after an hour on such a high! Seeing the delapitated building and rubbish everywhere including the roaming chickens and even a snake! I wondered what the hell it must be like – but from the birth ‘suite’ was mesticously clean. But there’s no pain relief and sadly no oxygen available to resuscitate. Only 40% of the families can afford to be transporting to neighbouring Kratie in an emergency. But having seen their facilities first hand I’m not terribly hopeful. We tried to ascertain figures about live births and death in childbirth – but the midwives were reluctant to give out that information.
After our experience we headed along on our bikes to join AH11 – the main road back. It was a long ride.
Unfortunately we came across a tourist bus that had crashed. It looked pretty horrific and people were lying on the bank of the grass. I wanted to offer help, but my friend said the police were on scene and we if offered lifts – how would we choose the people to take. I asked her if she wanted to cover the story. But she doesn’t want to be a journalist that hovers around crashes that have just occurred. I guess I can understand that.
We met an hour later for a delicious dinner in a restaurant that my friend recommended as my accomodation was closing for the holiday and had stopped serving food. We then went onto a bar. It was pretty grotty to be honest. My friend got into an argument with another friend of hers, in Khymer so I didn’t understand what was happening, only that my friend declared we were leaving.
With no where else open and my friend being tired and miserable, I headed back to my accomodation. I caught the manager and over a few beers we talked about his business. And of course I felt obliged to offer some strategies to get a hand in on the increasing tourism. I think I was over tired, dehydrated and had too many beers at this point. Perhaps I was being even more forceful. I also started talking about the history of Cambodia with him. He was polite but I began to think about how the culture wouldn’t really express unease.
So I bid goodnight.
This morning I had a whopping hangover – I’d forgotten how awful it felt. I took my Moto to the local pharmacy. It was truly a beautiful day in Kratie today. Sunny but not overwhelmingly hot. A nice breeze. After some paracetamol and codeine, I arranged to meet my friend at the restaurant again. I was thrilled to see on the menu they had fry ups for breakfast!! An amazing treat! I devoured it like a homeless person!
Feeling ‘normal’ again, my friend explained the situation. I’m so glad that the last time I see her won’t be with her in a mood. This girl is amazing.
And so I sadly dropped my Moto off and she gave me a ride back to my accomodation where my taxi was waiting.
I was sad to say goodbye to the staff – I was like a surrogate mum to them. They were so sweet and young. But really warm and friendly, with a cheeky sense of humour.
So now the countdown begins to my return home.
My husband sent pictures of Jessie’s birthday party – which he’d done himself and it was amazing. Bouncy castle, mobile petting zoo. She looked so happy. Again, I’m so proud of my husband for pulling this off. For all this single handed effort. I wonder if I’ll have any problems fitting back in. They have gotten so close and my husband has fulfilled their every need with seeming ease without me.