February 2007

Together

by socheata on February 28, 2007

We just said goodbye yesterday to our last guest from the Cambodia tour.

It was amazing what a strong bond we created in the past ten days.

On Friday Feb. 16th, Charles, his parents Rich & Marcia and our guest Ron Ardres were in a vehicle accident on a dirt road from Koh Ker to Preah Vihear. They were in an SUV when the driver lost control in a fish tail situation. The vehicle left the road and rolled over twice. It came to rest down a small rise, on its side and facing the direction from which it came.

Only Charles was wearing a seat belt and walked away from the accident. He was hit on the head by the collapsing roof but no bleeding. He then directed a valiant evacuation operation. The others were badly hurt and at the time, we did not know what kind of internal injuries they suffered.

We were traveling in a 6 vehicle convoy. Thank goodness we had both Dr. KG Bennet and M.D. Kenway Louie on the trip. They responded to the injured right away. One guest described the response as “superhero”. I think it is an apt description. There was no cell reception there so we could not call for help. The doctors assessed that all four of the more seriously injured could be driven to Siem Reap about 3 hours away. Thirty minutes later, after KG’s second examination of Marcia, he and Charles created a spine support for her out of bush wood and clothing.

Charles’ parents suffered spine and head trauma. That evening they were evacuated to a Bangkok hospital.

While Charles, KG, James (Charles’ brother), Amy (James’ long-time partner) and I were at the hospital, the rest of our guests convened at the Hanumanalaya.

Later they told us that at dinner, though there was plenty of space at 4 tables, all thirteen crowded around a single table for eight. They couldn’t bear to be separated that night.

While Rich and Marcia are in pain, all doctors agree to expect a full recovery in time. Ron hurt his foot and prefers to treat it himself. Charles of course keeps ticking. James and Amy are still in Bangkok with Rich and Marcia.

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Happy to be Home

by socheata on February 28, 2007

Richard and Marcia are back at home in Santa Ana, California. Both are happy to be in their own beds, but miss the convenience of push button services like food and drinks like they enjoyed in the Bangkok hospital.

They are both still in pain, but they are treating that appropriately. They’re grateful for the love and support of friends and family nearby who are cooking food and doing grocery runs for them.

James and Amy leave Bangkok for Orange County soon as well.

Charles and I leave for home tomorrow after a New Year Baby screening in Phnom Penh. Charles is less sore.

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From Cambodia

by socheata on February 6, 2007

For the past few days, I have been in Cambodia, introducing the film to various NGOs here which work in the area of justice and human rights. My goal is to get them to see the film, love it and want to use it in their programming is they gear up for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Os far, we have screenings set up – one in Phnom Penh and one in Siem Reap. The organizations seem to be very excited about the possibilities of collaboration.

I have not been in Phnom Penh for two years and it’s like I can see the city changing before my eyes. There are more cars here now than ever before. Today I saw a red Hummer and a yellow Miata. There’s construction everywhere.

I confess, I cannot wait until my guests arrive form America and England. I love playing host to tourists. It’s like being able to experience a place for the first time again through their eyes.

Our host, Nick Ray and Kulikar Sotho, could not be more generous. They have made our stay very easy and elegant. Nick and Kulikar run one of five companies, including Hanuman Tourism (www.hanumantourism.com). They are Cambodia experts and wonderful people. I am grateful to call them friends.

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