Visit to Preah Vihear

My historical visit to the war-torn border between Thailaing and Cambodia, called Preah Vihear begun on Friday, the 17th of April 2009 from Sihanouk Ville-Phnom Penh-Seim Reap-An long to Preah Vihear, covering almost 1500 kms by bus. This means that our journey was not easy. I was invited to go and visit this historical place by the President of the Cambodian Civilisation Foundation, Mr. Moeng Sonn and my Cambodian brother, Mr. Phorn. The team consisted about 15 people including my interpretor from SLM, Mr. Rachha.
The journey was long and tiring as the road to Preah Vihear was not really good, especially about 70 kms towards Preah Vihear. On arrival at the base of the mountain, the team rested in two wooden guest houses for the night.
Waking up early in the morning, the team went up to the preah Vihear mountain which was very high and the road, which was recently made was narrow and dangerous. Just normal vihicles can’t climb such high and stiff road!!! Reaching the mountains, we all walked up further to the top of the mountain since there were no road for vihicles. Reaching the top of the Mountain, we were greeted by the General of the army, Mr. Dara. The team also have a time of sharing with the general and we were brieved about the locations,the atmosphere and the recent attach by Thai soldiers from the other side of the mountain. We were also shown the bullet marks on the walls and doors. After the team left, I could have some private time of sharing with the general. The team gave away some medicines to the soldiers on the mountain. Later more medicines were sent to the soldiers and military police on the mountain. The team also survied the market which was completely destroyed by the Thai soldiers on April 3, 2009. The Khmer soldiers on the mountain were all very friendly and cooperative. They appreciated out visit.
Preah Vihear mountain is famous because there is an ancient hindu temples on the top of this mountain. Besides, this mountain is located in a very strategic location which is very close to Thailand.
After decending from the mountain, the team revisited the Refugee camp where more than 270 families are living together in about 4 buildings that has no walls and no separate rooms. These buildings seem to be under construction. This means that the buildings are opened and there’s no privacy for each families as they can see each others both the day and night times. Their living condition was terrible and are exposed to many dangers. Some of the children were totally or partially naked as they did not have enough clothes. Since they did not have enough time to collect their things from their home when the Thai soldiers suddenly attached their village, they did not have enough money with them.
Our mission (SLM) prepared two bagful of medicines for the refugees, the military police and the soldiers on the mountain. Those medicines were given away to the patients. We were sorry that we did not have enough medicines for some sicknesses like fungus infection etc. Talking with the refugees in the camp was heart breaking for they were really fighting for their survival. The team spent about 4 hours with them. Leaving them in that condition and heading towards Phnom Penh made me so sad. How I wished to stay with them at least for a couple of days, if not for the time, responsiblity in my working place and the team’s schedule.
I am praying to the LORD that he will give me another opportunity to get back to those poor and needy people as soon as possible.
Returning backed to Sihanouk Ville on Monday, I started talking with friend and students and also writing emails to friends, challenging them to be part of the sufferings of the people in Preah Vihear by donating medicines, clothes, money ot whatever.
Please pray for these poor and needy ones in Preah Vihear. Thank you very much and God bless all readers.

Jonah Amer
April 22, 2009

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