Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Value of Life

Not long ago, we were driving to our land to check on the construction of our home. The road is one of the few "highways" in the country, so the speed of travel and diversity of vehicles makes my heart race, my hands grab the handholds, and my husband wish the trip could just be over.

A pair of motos came whizzing by us loaded with teenage boys. Oh boy, I thought, we'll see an accident soon. Not two minutes later the view in our windshield was brake lights and the body of a young man cartwheeling through the air.

We came upon the scene, and my husband got out to help as I and the kids prayed. I finally turned around to see some men dragging a badly injured young boy to the side of the road. They left all of the crashed vehicles, but had to get him off the road.

I was stunned. Didn't they know that could injure him further? Why in the world wouldn't they wait for help to move him instead of dragging him by one arm? Then it hit me: he was in more danger on the road than he was from being moved.  Someone could have run over that boy without a second thought. Besides, who was going to come and help him? At times, the value of life in Cambodia is so low I feel hopeless for change.

His friend loaded him onto another moto and another friend jumped on behind. We followed them down the road to a nearby hospital. A nurse was urging him to come in. He wouldn't.

How could he know if the doctor would really help him instead of, at best, give him limited treatment for a huge fee, or, at worst, make him worse so more treatment would be needed. More fees...

We helped as best we would, amazed that the young man was lucid enough to even move. He had not been wearing a helmet, and I couldn't even let myself imagine how hard he had hit the ground.

Finally, we continued on. His mother was on the way.

After surveying the work being done on our house, we were chatting with several villagers when I heard my husband shout at me to grab our son and run! We barely escaped being run over by one of the dump trucks backing up to dump more dirt on the village road. The truck never stopped.

My husband was livid (which means he was frowning - that man has unbelieveable self-control). He calmly spoke with the truck driver, "You could have killed someone."

The driver shrugged and walked off.  I could not believe his indifference. Yet, here it was again: this shocking devaluing of human life. But, why am I surprised?

Don't I see it every day?

In the children being raised by nannies who beat them
In the wives whose husbands are publicly cheating on them
In the factories who refuse to pay a living wage
In the number of men who rape in this country (1 in 4)
In the brothels and massage parlors 
In the brick factories, home to so many slaves
In the buying and selling of children's bodies

Today, a friend posted a music video on Facebook that really spoke to this continually heartbreaking reality. I hope it encourages your heart like it did mine. And, please, please, please continue to pray for God to shine here in Cambodia.

Bluetree Cambodia Music Video

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