Every Saturday, Dr Beat Ritchner gives a short cello recital at the Children’s Hospital in Siem Reap to raise awareness and funds for his Kantha Bopha Children’s hospitals. With great, wheezing breadths (which I tried to ignore), his cello becomes his voice, crying for children all over the country, and the world. Children whose parents are too poor to afford even basic healthcare. Children who die from simple ailments, easily curable in a developed country. Children who don’t get a chance in life, because they have been disadvantaged from birth.
In between pieces, he narrates reasons why the existence of his hospital is so important for the children of Cambodia. He gives facts, figures – the number of children that would die each day, if not for the Kantha Bopha hospitals in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. He argues that the government should help, but isn’t doing as much as they should, and one can easily sense his frustration at this point.
If I didn’t see it for myself through the touching video, it would have been hard to imagine – the thousands and thousands of mothers, fathers and children – people who get Hope from the existence from a hospital such as this. And the lives that might have been lost if not for Kantha Bopha.
To a certain extent, the visit to the hospital made me realise how oblivious I am to the good life I have.
And when realisation strikes – the realisation that it could very well be me living in a mud hut, a 3km walk away from the nearest hospital, too poor to buy basic painkillers, or vitamins… All in a twist of fate… The realisation slams me like a heavy weight that drags my guts down to the depths of my stomach. And at night, before I sleep, in the air-conditioned room and under cosy comforters, I wonder to myself: “What good did you do to deserve the wonderful life you have?”
And the self-reply whispers: “Maybe its time to start doing something MORE to make yourself worthy of this life you’ve been given.”