Tears Of Indra


ACTIVITY OF 8 - 9 NOVEMBER 2011 

Today the village temple, Wat Ton Satu, on the west bank had its Kathin, the end of rain retreat ceremony. Once the latter held, the monks - who were confined to the temple during the three months of the rainy season - can again freely wander around.

The temple premises are still prisoner of the Lopburi River and only the large stilted vihara is in use. Monks live on one side and - mostly elderly villagers - on the other side. The vihara can only be reached by a makeshift bridge. The utmost was done by the head monk, to make at least a ceremony Kathin-worthy in this difficult situation. We supported the ceremony in food, water and soft drinks and helped the temple out with a part of the costs of the organization, just as we did with the temple of Tambon Khayai on the east bank, Wat Jom Ket. 

The temple took care for 130 flood refugees when the waters were at their highest. As soon as the west road became usable many returned to their homes to avoid burglary and continued to live on the upper floor of their houses. The temple still takes care for about 30 persons of the two hamlets on the left bank - mostly people who could not afford stilted houses - and this since the month of September.

After the ceremony, we ordered in a village shop - we try to stimulate the village economy again - fifty warm rice meals and distributed them among the flood refugees living along the road or in the sala (small wooden open shelter against rain and sunshine every 500 meter along the roads in rural areas for people waiting transportation). We were a bit uncomfortable as more people gathered than we could serve.

We found an old couple in a wooden sala along the road near Wat Sawang Arom, one kilometer south of Wat Ton Satu. Their house was flooded and the only belongings they could save were gathered in the open pavilion. The husband lay down on the floor wrapped in a blanket. His spouse said he was already sick for five days, as he ran out of medicines and they had no money to go to a doctor or a pharmacy in Ayutthaya city. The man had passed out a few times. He was sweating all over and had it very cold. Seeing the man, you should not be a doctor to see that he was in a serious condition. Yama was nearby.

We put him in our car. Here I have to recount the story of our car. In one or another way, we became humanly attached to our object of transport. A bit like the stories by late Willy Vandersteen of “Spike & Suzy” (“Suske & Wiske” in Dutch and “Bob et Bobette” in French), were I recalled they had a small car called “Vitamitje”. It is far from Buddhist philosophy, but we tend to give a name to our car, as it helped us out of quite some bad or adventurous situations. So our black “Chev” was baptized “Black Label”. It sounds maybe weird, but sometimes you need to be weird to fulfill something. 

In the early morning of 6 October, we had to take out the car, as the floodwater rose at incredible speed. Sometimes I wonder why nobody of the local government warned us of the deluge. It did not fall from the sky; it must have passed in other areas north of us; the government knew. Every morning, after six, the loudspeakers of the village blares some metallic music sounding like the 1940’s, announcing what is heading up for the day. The same is repeated in the afternoon. Time after time our dogs get crazy and become like wolves when they hear this theme, which is a far gone song about the glorious days of Ayutthaya. The loudspeakers remained silent on 5 and 6 October. A bad moon rising.

That morning we planned to go to Laksi immigration office, as the one in Ayutthaya succumbed to the waters and my permit was close to expire. We had packed already personal bags some days prior “in case”. The case came quicker than we thought. We grabbed our bags and electronics and quickly drove the car out from the area. More for that day you can find here

Black Label arrived at Khlong 1. Here everything was dry and we used the car to buy emergency supplies for the activities of 8, 9 and 16 October. Then suddenly came the announcement that our area in Khlong 1 would be flooded by one meter (it would finally be more than 1.5 meter in some places). There was many disbelieve, but we knew better. We hurried the Black Label to the parking of Future Park, were he took a nap until three days ago.

We needed a car to relocate to Bang Pahan and to buy and deliver supplies. Finding a car is very difficult this period (who risks his car in this flood?) and hiring one is hardly possible. We decided to take our pick-up out of the parking lot on 8 November. Future Park is surrounded by water, as a castle on an island, more than 1.5 meters deep. We contacted a local guy with a tractor and a loader. He accepted for 4000 Baht to conquer the floodwaters around Future Park and retrieve Black Label. 

Everything went smooth; we were the first people to take a car out of the flooded Future Park; an experience followed by a thousand eyes. Too smooth! 

When arriving at the high way exit, we unloaded the car. Suddenly one of the iron ramps broke and Black Label was hanging in the air, stuck at the end of the loader. The car retrieval specialist team had no clue how to handle the situation. We were tested again.

Dawit, who have been guarding “our fort” in Bang Pahan for a month, straight took the lead. He first stabilized the car, lifting it manually up from the loader with the help of some stones and wood. Then he “engineered” with sandbags and wooden planks a makeshift ramp. He took place behind the steer wheel and drove Black Label proudly down. We held our breath, as the planks were very small. They took the weight and our car was back again on safe ground. We could return to Bang Pahan. 

We return now back to the sick old man. When brought into the car he collapsed immediately and we drove him speedily to the nearest hospital in Nakhon Luang. He was straight taken to emergencies. His sugar level was extreme low and he was treated in urgency. The doctor said he had to remain at least two to three days in the hospital for further tests and to recover. We said goodbye, returned to Bang Pahan and informed his wife of her husband’s situation around 1900 Hr. She seemed pretty relieved, that her husband got into the hospital. We will visit him daily and if recovered, reunite him with his spouse.

 

Supplies bought: 

08/11/2011

08/11/2011

09/11/2011

09/11/2011

Tesco Lotus

Food

Wat Ton Satu

Warm rice meals (50)

Bill - Yes

Bill - No

Bill - Yes

Bill - Yes

Total

  1263 Baht

  7500 Baht

20000 Baht

   1250 Baht

30,013 Baht

Administrative & Logistic costs: None

Total cost for this activity: 30,013 Baht

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