Care Villa is home to a group of 13 land-mine victims. On our last visit there one resident, Paul, had learnt to play the violin and he sung “On Christ the solid Rock I Stand” for us. This was also sung by Major Hugh Seagrim and his men before the Japanese ordered them as prisoners to dig their own graves in Rangoon, September 1944.
The men at Care Villa spend their lives disabled by blindness and immobility, and sit under a hot tin roof with little to do. For the most part they are ex Karen soldiers and lost their sight while attempting to defuse land-mines, or lost their legs by stepping on one.
PSRB’s donation this year of £1,000 from the Awareness Trust has been used to repair the roof, to buy extra nutritional food to supplement camp rations and to pay for Christmas celebrations; singing competitions and Bible quizzes, games and meals.
When the residents were asked if they had any questions for me they wanted to know the age of the Queen; they listen to the radio a lot and thought that the world is so troubled by war that WW3 was coming. From the perspective of decades cut off in Mae La camp world news must seem extraordinarily perilous.
During 2014 two residents left to be resettled in the US and Australia.