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The Delivery

Feb 28, 2012

The Delivery,

Like all construction projects that seem to take on a life of their own this one was no different. The last few days leading up to the blessing and departure of the clinic were filled with many hot, sweaty long days of work and gathering of material. But in the end the clinic was mostly ready save for some details and fine tuning to be done on route.

 We arrived at the clinic last Friday to begin work in the early morning before the monks arrived (we thought at 2 pm.) Unbeknownst to us it was not that simple. Around 9:30 a group of elderly women, most with shaved heads, arrived to prepare for the ceremony in the afternoon. They came bearing many types of foliage, sections of banana tree trunks and leaves, lotus flowers, mats, incense and candles. The women sat on their haunches for hours chewing betel nut and assembling the material into elaborate sculptures of vegetation.  We thought they were done a couple of hours before the ceremony but knew we were wrong when several elderly male men in white robes arrived to put the finishing touches on the preparations; placing fruit, lotus flowers and other offerings on the altar. Soon after the monks arrived in their tangerine orange robes.  After lighting the candles and with incense burning the chanting began (photo attached).
They chanted for safety and good luck for the clinic while sprinkling the crowd with water and lotus flower petals. After it was over the men and women disassembled the lot in very quick order and were gone, leaving us behind to toast the completion and devour a whole roasted pig.

We continued working on the clinic doing last minute things and miraculously, as planned, we were ready to go on Sunday afternoon. Leaving the port was a bit tense as the pilot did not tell anyone his intention and took off creating some frantic moments causing some of us to leap into the water to retrieve ropes and fend off disaster. Finally under way we set off downstream (photo attached) through the floating village at the channel mouth and onto the lake. We travelled till dusk and anchored near the shore for the night. Before sunrise we were off again heading south towards the Stung Sen, on our way we continued to work on the clinic and organise the piles of equipment and material on board. 

Part way through the day we rendezvoused with another boat, as our small tow boat lacked enough power to do the job, with two boats pulling we made better time. About mid day we took off with the small boat, while the clinic carried on, we went into Moat Kla Village, where KIDS built the school for three hundred children last year.  We needed to drop off a generator, lights and fans that we had purchased; the teachers had requested these items so the kids could study at night and have relief from the heat in the hot season. We had a great visit with the teachers and children and then left to catch up with the clinic. We continued on till dark. The wind started to rise and as there was no safe harbour nearby we had no choice but to anchor in the open water of the lake. We spent a long and uncomfortable night with much banging and crashing of waves and blowing wind, not much sleep was had by any of the eleven of us that were on the trip. We were all relieved when dawn arrived and the wind dropped and we were on our way again. (we have attached a photo of the crew who went on the trip)



We arrived at the mouth of the Stung Sen midday and anchored for a while to eat then set off up river for the final leg of the trip. Along the way we were greeted by many smiles and waves as we passed through narrow channels and other floating villages. As we weaved our way up the Stung Sen the level of poverty took a turn for the worse. Around four o’clock in the afternoon on Tuesday we arrived in the first village the clinic would serve. Almost immediately people began to gather, asking to see the medical team that that were not yet with us, as they were scheduled to arrive by bus, motorcycle and boat on Thursday morning for the first clinic.


We settled in to watch a beautiful sunset, a most amazing star filled sky and feasted on a  wonderful evening meal and the insects...  feasted on us, more on that and the first clinic in a couple of days.


The push to finish the clinic was taxing to say the least and all the while back home our dear friend Mike Matthews, husband  of Carol a founding board member of KIDS, became ill and has since passed away. Mike was an inspiring educator, actor and a fount of knowledge as well as a loving husband, father, nano and friend who had a wonderful and witty sense of humour. His spirit will live on in the minds and hearts of so many. Mike and Carol have been great supporters of us and K.I.D.S. During Mike’s brief and furious illness he was the recipient of great health care and medical attention at Nanaimo Hospital. We know Mike would be pleased with the health care the clinic that will provide for children and families. Adrianne and I want to thank Mike and his beloved wife Carol for their compassion, love and support. 


With appreciation, 

Rick and Adrianne

PS Sorry for the gap in updates and being out of touch but we have been out of good email connections for a while.









 Kids International Development Society


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