A 25-year old man is just trying to provide for his family. He hits a UXO (unexploded ordnance). He loses his hand. The UXO were dropped by the USA during the Secret War in the 1960s and 70s, where indiscriminate bombing for nine years left 80 million live UXO (of 260 million that were dropped) people to discover, maim and kill. Sadly, many of the victims are children, too.
Meeting Mr. Thit Thongchanh
We spent the day walking almost 9 miles to and from Phakeo Village (5 miles one way; 3.6 miles on the return). On the return, we walked 3.6 miles to a village called Namkha .
Dr. Bounthanh asked Barbara to help him to give an infant girl a penicillin shot to help her with her get rid of her pneumonia. He was attending to another patient in the meantime.
Give Children A Choice’s Thongchanh, in the meantime, noted that there was a man who had a UXO accident. We met the gentleman. His name is Mr. Thit Thongchanh. He is married and has three daughters, ages 3 through 7 years of age.
Building an Irrigation Ditch for his Rice Field
On January 26, 2012, Mr. Thit was preparing his rice field for the upcoming growing season. As part of the preparation, he was creating irrigation ditches for the water to flow throw the rice fields and out. In the process, his right hand hit a bombie, while he was digging. The UXO exploded and the explosion blew his right hand off. He was rushed to the Mongolian Friendship Hospital (donated by the Mongolian government), the provincial hospital. They had sewn his arm up. He recuperated for a few days. He was sent home.
He has returned to his village. He is still a state of shock. He’s missing a hand, but still feels it. He has a rice field that he must prepare, but can’t. He needs to plant to provide rice for his family, but can’t. He needs to be the breadwinner, but he can’t. He wants to pick up his children with both hands, but can’t. He is in a state of shock. He’s speechless. He’s not angry. He’s scared.
His neighbor spoke to us. Mr. Thit doesn’t know how he’s going to provide for his family. He doesn’t know how he’s going grow enough rice for his family. He doesn’t know.
Based on our experience with Mr. Yae Lee, Mr. Thit may be provided some education and training and some nominal financial support (less than $100?), but not enough for him to sustain himself. He will have live in a perpetual state of poverty, as the other victims, we’ve met. I hope I’m wrong.
I didn’t have my camera at the time. I wished I had taken pictures of his family. (I will during our next visit to Xieng Khouang.) I am at a loss with what I can do. I feel I cannot support every casualty, particularly because there are so many. Perhaps, there are some of you out there who would be willing to provide some support for his daughters.