Saturday, 3 December 2011

Searching for Numbers and Maps

Friday was a huge day for gathering information.  The mission was to retrieve a map of Sam Rit village in order to make it easier for the artists to navigate during their stay. We were told that the best place would either be at one of the Politician's houses (there are several villages in Sam Rit - 15 in fact, and this was the Politician of Sam Rit 1, 2, 12, and 13 we were going to see).  If that was unsuccessful, then we were to try the medical clinic.
Eck and Sam Rit Politician Duang

Eck and I set off to the Politician Duang's house first, and he found a satellite map of the four villages closest to each other; Sam Rit 1, 2, 12 and 13.  The artist's residence and my family's compound are located in Sam Rit 2. The map was good to see the geographical proximity of the village, but we needed something more along the lines of a street view map.

Sam Rit Clinic
Head Nurse: Somnuk Tiyathaithada
Next stop was the clinic.  This is located directly opposite the school we visited earlier in the week.  We were warmly greeted by the lady at reception, and then led into the Head Nurse's office, which turned out to be much more fruitful than expected. Nurse Somnuk was able to give us a map of the village which displayed where each street, house, shop, temple and other landmark was located, and also gave us population numbers, and a history of Sam Rit (still yet to be translated).  It was amazing that this was the only place that knew this information.  We also found out that Sam Rit 2 has a population of 669 people (184 households).  This really helps to put things into perspective for me, as it illustrates in numbers, the size of this village.
Phimai Historical Park

Tourist Police in Phimai
Next we headed into the nearest town, Phimai, to pick up some brochures from the Tourist Police Office and Phimai Historical Park.  The maps we found were great and located some handy necessities, and we would be sure to add our own finishing touches too (like where the best massages are in town!).  The Phimai Historical Park is on the list for the artist's 3 day orientation.  With Khmer Architectural aesthetic, these ruins actually out-date those in Angkor Wat in Cambodia.  It attracts many local and international visitors into the area.

Today was also the day I had my wisdom tooth extraction scheduled.  It was at the local Phimai dentist, which now boasts two dental surgeons.  They speak enough English to let you know what's going on, and are fully equipped and efficient in what they do.  I had a small composite filling whilst waiting for the anaesthetic to kick in, then my impacted wisdom tooth, much more stubborn than anticipated, finally came out.  It was all done in 35 minutes,  then I was sent home with gauze, pain killers, antibiotics and a bill for AUS $54.  For that kind of price and service I try to avoid going to the dentist anywhere else!

Before my anaesthetic wore off, Eck and I travelled around Phimai to scout out what kind of art materials were available in the town.  We came across a great school supplies shop which stocked everything from art, craft, science, music and sporting equipment.  I'm sure the artists could get quite creative with the array of coloured paper, glass beakers and pipe cleaners in stock!

River located behind the family compound, already quite high,
 had flooded an extra 5 metres a few months earlier
That night we ventured to the village for dinner.  It was going to be the last night there, as Saturday night were are hosting a party before heading back to Bangkok on Sunday.  We all talked about how the floods had severely affected the area in the last two years.  In August last year, it was the worst flooding seen in years.  2000 Rice fields were destroyed, which meant that those farmers and their families have been struggling ever since. The same areas were then again flooded this year, and 78 rice crops were destroyed.  With Sam Rit village relying on rice for its major source of industry and income, these flood waters have truly affected the lives of the 184 families in the area.  This is something that I will be endeavouring to help out with upon my return to Australia.  It costs only AUD$20 to buy a bag of rice seeds and fertilizer which will grow an entire crop field. From this, an average of 500 bags of rice can be sown, and this can then be turned into $200 from selling at the market.  Keep posted for an exhibition of photos from my trip where you could literally help sow the seeds to recovery...

No comments:

Post a Comment