Sunday, April 11, 2010

Vet assistant at your service

I have just come into the town of Chaing Mai from the hills for our "big Sunday night out". I am a fully, hardworking valuable vet assistant... The baby ellie is not here yet, but Mama seems much bigger than 2 weeks ago and her milk production is hopefully soon. I work hard all day but i really enjoy it and I am in my "dirty country but very interesting" element. So... we have 2 old ladies at the clinic that have abscesses on their feet that we have to disinfect, clean and medicate 2X per day, then from the herds one with cuts from horny teenage male elephant attacks, one with an infected vulva, and one with an abscess on her shoulder, which is like a really big blister that I have to pump out/ clean, old brocken hip madame with cuts on her hips where she rubs and a baby with cracked feet....All except baby get treated 2X per day...I also learned how to give an elephant an injection. Because the old ladies have abscesses on the soles of their feet and they are hard to treat really well, we have to give them antibiotics to protect from further infection. This takes 3 people at last. One mahut to keep them still, one to old the needle and the syringe together and one to push the injection with both hands because the muscle and antibiotics are so thick. One oldie HATES THIS and we all have to do this running around the shelter trying not to get hurt and trying to get it in :@.( Only every other day)...Then all the dogs have got a very contagious cough/ pneumonia because someone brought out a non- vaccinated puppy who gave it to all 40 dogs. So after the ellies morning treatment we have to run around the park trying to find all the dogs and feed them food with medicine. Thank god thats done today..But apparently some have a blood parasite so next week we have to catch those and give them an injection without getting bitten equals one holds a certain way and one injecting and let go quickly. Its all great fun! :)

The vet nurse is great to work with. Already I am part of the team and see alot of the dramas, gossip and politics. Its good that I am usually quiet and listen alot. I am certainly not getting involved in all the crazy drama :)...

I work very closely with the elephant's "mahouts" or care takers. As the burmese are traditionally such trainers/ carers all these are Burmese refugees. They seem to appreciate my work, so I think I am doing well, I just now need to also learn Burmese as most only speak their mother tongue.

Apparently things are heating up in Bangkok with violent protests. I heard a report of 15 dead today. There are no protests here in the north but everyone is a proud "redshirt"- So supporting the exiled prime minister Taksin Chinawat (sp?)who is the hero of the poor and rural Thai. When I arrived this week, my taxi driver had the protests on full blast and talked about things very passionately for the ride. At the park everyone is tuned in on their little handheld radios all the time... As long as the king stays alive I think we will be alright.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Quieting the unquiet soul

So in the middle of our time in Cambodia, we traveled to my favorite place in the world, the Elephant Nature Park, a conservation sanctuary for distressed elephants in northern Thailand It was great, as it was 4 years ago. Unfortunately one ellie, who had been brocken by a lifetime of trauma died while we were there. Though I think this was the best for her it emphasizes how disgusting humans can be. But there are also two babies, two young bulls on the edge of adulthood and a baby on the way. Currently they have a full time Thai vet on staff, and a vet nurse volunteer from Melbourne, but both only have small animal as I’ve got time and years of at least horse experience I will be returning to the park tomorrow to assist the team for a month. I am verrryyy excited, as being a vet is my second life dream, if I had a second life right now. No, I won’t be operating, but I can hold instruments at the ready and I will be learning, learning, learning....god I miss learning. While I am quieting my soul and learning again, Jeremie will be returning to France to see a back specialist before heading to Chile. SO dear readers, I am sorry to inform you that our adventures will not include China on a budget and no Chinese and Siberia by train, but will include the birth of an elephant and all that Chile has to hold. Keep reading. There is always something. And I will keep writing, though not sop frequently as there in no internet in the Thai jungle, but in Chaing Mai where one must go 1 time per week so one doesn’t turn to darkly "natural". Until then ...

Sort of quiet on the eastern front

Yes, I know. I haven’t written in quite a while now. Difficult internet connection is an "excuse", but truly I find it very difficult to write about Cambodia. My time here has brought many deeply gripping experiences. The reality of Cambodia remains deeply troubling. Much if not all of society still deals with the deep seeded trauma of their genocide and all the effects of loosing a huge percentage of generations. The Khmer Rouge campaign to cleanse intellectual society was successful and the scars of that still remain. On a large scale the Khmer lost the ability to learn from their pre- rouge cultural history as well as the ability to learn from their elders. 50% of the population is under 20 and it is rare to meet someone over the age of 50. And there is anger. No where in south East Asia have I experienced such a disregard to "keeping face" as here. Anger at me not wanting to pay hugely inflated "tourist price" for a juice on the street. To a tuk tuk driver who threatened to beat my brother in law for not paying more than the fair price to another so massively on drugs that after we jumped out and got into another one, he tried to run us down, nearly causing several accidents to the point that our new driver stopped at a police station....when a Khmer stops at the police by choice you know its bad. What happened next is a symptom of the deprivation of Cambodia. The police ordered the drugged driver off his bike, which he could hardly do, took some money off of him and sent him on his way. Cambodia is not a democracy but dictatorship ruled by massive corruption and "previously" Khmer Rouge cadres. On every level, in every village they are still here. If I were Cambodian I would be angry too.