One of my favorite things about living in Asia, is monkeys. Many of you watched the video of the “attack of the monkey on my hair.” If not, I’ve included this for your viewing pleasure at the bottom of this post! But, the sad part is that this video is only one of many of my dangerous monkey encounters. The one that I would like to share today ended in a miracle that saved a life. It begins with my pet monkey.
This teenage male macaque pictured above, came with the house we rented and we bonded at once. In fact, we enjoyed him so much, we (I, with my husband ever warning me) decided to get a female monkey and mate them. I pictured cute baby monkeys to play with, what could go wrong?
A friend found a female monkey and sight unseen I said that I would take it. As soon as this monkey arrived and they placed it on my lap, I knew we were in trouble. The monkey was a full grown adult and was a bit nauseated from the moto ride to my house. Needless to say, the clothes I was wearing were placed in the trash. At the beginning, things looked good as they bonded together in our backyard. But, a few days after their romance began things got bad for me. The female began to be jealous of me until one day as I went to feed them, she attacked me and bit my hand. Her teeth went deep into my skin as she grabbed my thumb. We wrestled until she finally let go and I ran screaming into my home. With doors slamming behind, she ran around the house looking for a way to attack again. Fortunately for cell phones, Marc returned to the house with back up and we said goodbye to the female monkey.
But, as promised, the good news is coming soon so hang in there! I visited a doctor in the city who prescribed an antiviral that I needed to take but was unavailable in our country and was costly to order. We decided it was best to spend the money for this medicine. The day it arrived, I got a phone call from a friend saying that there was a woman who was very ill from high fevers and I needed to see her immediately. They were afraid that she would die soon. I picked up my antiviral at the pharmacy and headed to the refugee camp where the sick lady was waiting for me. I pulled up to see her to find a mother of 3 lying in her bamboo hut with a worried husband next to her. She had Shingles which is a viral infection all over her skin and her fever was so high that I could feel the heat before entering her hut.
I realized that the medicine I just picked up was the exact medicine, dose, and amount she needed. I gave her the medicine that day and thanked God for the opportunity to be a part of a Christmas miracle not from me but from Him! Merry Christmas and I hope your Christmas is filled with joy and miracles.
We added it up. Since summer this year, our family has slept in over 40 different beds each!! We have been in 3 countries and will add France to that list by next week. Nomadic living has taken us off the path and to many hidden jewels. When we travel, we stop momentarily where the tourists go but always seem to steer off that path usually because its cheaper, more intimate with nationals, quieter, and it feels more like real life.
Last summer, we visited Ratanakiri to delve into a corner of the earth few get to travel. Twelve different languages within 50 miles of each other! There is no other place like Ratanakiri Cambodia. Closed to the world, except those willing to take a 2 day moto adventure through mud, until 2 years ago, many of these tribal areas remain untouched from outside influence. We traveled 10 hours from capital Phnom Penh to arrive in this town and was surprised to find 3 great experiences including a volcano lake, a luxurious hotel with charm and excellent food, and a canoe ride to visit the villages whose language no one speaks except 200-500 people in the entire world.
Terres Rouges Lodge in Ratanakiri
Travel tip: We often book a nice hotel such as this on the second day of our trip. We show up early and check out late. Before and after, we stay at a hostel or backpackers place in order to save money.
Lake Yeak Laom
Located approximately 3 mi (4.8 km) from the provincial capital, Banlung, the beautiful lake occupies a 4,000-year-old volcanic crater. Due to the lake’s tremendous depth (157 ft or 48 m), its water is exceptionally clean and clear. The lake is almost perfectly round and measures 0.45 mi (0.72 km) in diameter. Large trees and rich, lush rain forest, the home of many exotic birds and parrots, surround the lake. The water has a mysterious viscous feel yet clear as glass. An unusual sight and feel with mysteries lying on the bottom such as unexploded bombs from Vietnam War and bodies of those who thought they could swim.
Tonle San River Ride
Driving an hour out of Ratanakiri town, we approached the shack, trash lined edge of the Tonle San river to arrange a canoe. Waiting another hour, a man came running up ready to load. We road the canoe down the river with our guide who is Chinese but lives in a village with about 200 other Chinese families who left China over 50 years ago.
The sun was intense on our backs as it was midday with no shade on this 2 hour boat ride. But, all of us were enthralled as we looked out to find children and adults on the edge of the river scantly dressed and bathing or washing clothes. He explained that each of these people had their own language. They were called the Khmer Loeu, Tampuan, Brou and others depending if you asked an outsider or Khmer. Not much is known about many of them but a few have learned enough Khmer to interact with the outside world. We stopped and visited the Jarai village of about 200 people. No-one knows the history of how they got to this land but they have been there since they can remember. Ancestors knew how to live on the forest alone but now they are employed by outside groups to cut down precious timber by the acres. We watched as they bathed without clothing unashamed as a community in the river.
Recently, we reflected on this trip and other unusual adventures, over a coffee with friends when asked “what have you learned from living a nomadic life?” Here are some unique lessons that came from this conversation:
Every life is unusual and unique. Yours is too. Share what is unusual about your life and what you have learned from that?
Suffering hurts but I am glad that I have suffered and wouldn’t change the bad things that happened to me. I’d like to share why.
Have you suffered? Tell us the lessons you have learned. Are you suffering today? Tell me and I will pray for you. So many are suffering beyond what I can comprehend and my hope today is to help lift anyone who feels as if it is all meaningless. Everything about you is meaningful, grande, and important. You are unique and have a beauty your own!
“In The Embers”We live and we die
Our legacies hide
In the embers
May our stories catch fire
And burn bright enough
To catch God’s eye
We live and we die
We pull apart the dark
Compete against the stars
With all of our hearts
Till our temporary brilliance turns to ash
We pull apart the darkness while we can
May we live and die
A valorous life
May we write it all down
In cursive light
The Halls promise you this, we will continue to explore our worldand share our journeys with you!