October 28th 2016
Care Villa is home to a group of 11 male land-mine victims in Mae La refugee camp. 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. Most have lived at Care Villa for many years.
PSRB’s donation this year of £1,500 from the Awareness Trust has been used to buy extra food to supplement camp rations. Rations in the camp this year have suffered new cuts and food in the camps has been inadequate. Our donation also paid for each man’s soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, soap powder, clothes, shoes and medicines such as painkillers and antibiotics. None of these are paid for by camp authorities.
Care Villa employs a caretaker who cooks and cleans for the residents who are evidently too disabled to do this for themselves. He is paid the equivalent of £40 a month and this too came from the gift from Awareness Trust. Care Villa has no other regular funding.
On our last visit there, Paul, a resident, had learnt to play the violin and he sung “On Christ the solid Rock I Stand” for us. This had famously been sung by the legendary, Major Hugh Seagrim, Special Forces, and his Karen men, before the Japanese ordered them, as prisoners, to dig their own graves in Rangoon, September 1944. Singing it was allowed by their captors in answer to their last request. They were then executed. Paul’s face as he sung it was inexplicably radiant.
On our last visit when the residents were asked if they had any questions for us, 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 must be coming.