Project Sekong 2014: Sometimes the impulse to help collides with spiritual beliefs.

January 31, 2014

Good Samaritans here also have to consider the consequences of transporting a sick or injured person in their car or, offering shelter to someone who might die in their home. And often the impulse to help must be reconciled with deeply help spiritual believes.

This young boy was mortally wounded by an exploding cluster bomblet but his parents had great difficulty finding transport to the hospital. They had to pledge to pay a driver a considerable sum if their son should die in his truck.

When nine-year-old Hamm was critically injured by an exploding bombie, his parents begged and pleaded for transport to the district hospital. In the end, they had to pledge a sizable forfeiture to a reluctant truck owner if Hamm happened to die along the way. (He did die after several hours but, luckily, not in the hired truck. His parents brought him home from the district hospital so his spirit would pass from his body in a familiar locale).

Yai, my interpreter at the time, and I once found an unconscious, helmetless, motorbike accident victim along the roadway late at night. There was no ambulance service to summon and none of the passersby gathering at the scene was willing to transport the victim to the district hospital.

Everyone who observed the man’s condition was certain that he would die along the way and no one wanted the fellow’s spirit haunting their car or truck. In the end, Yai and I carried him to the hospital in the bed of our pickup, a far more jarring ride than he would have had lying on the back seat of a car.

And, when nineteen-year-old Lone detonated a bomblet and was killed, his friends wrapped his body in a plastic tarp and carried him on their shoulders the twenty kilometers to his home. No one living near the site of the accident would transport the body in their car or truck. Neither compassion nor profit could sufficiently motivate villagers to invite Lone’s spirit into their vehicle.

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