Love is Why

Posted: Feb 14, 2020

Waiting for father to get home: Kay, Sera, Mommy, Baby Mickey, Bay

February takes me back to memories of a cozy home on the eastern outskirts of Vientiane in 1989. 

It was my birthday and I leaped out of bed and ran to wake my father and mother up and found that both were missing. I demanded to know where my father was with my present – this year, he promised me a book of paper dolls and I was so excited!

My mother told me that he would be home soon and coaxed me into eating my breakfast. After that, I rushed to the front patio and waited for what seemed like forever. As night fell, I gave up and cried myself to sleep.

Sera’s Father, Dr. Sith “Ajanh Sunjito” Koulabdara

The end of February came and brought two guests to our home. An elderly woman and a young girl a few years older than myself who was walking with a cane. I remember so vividly as she was missing part of her leg. . .yet, she was smiling when she saw me. In her hand was a paper doll.

My mother chatted with the woman while I clinged to her legs staring at the little girl. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. My young mind wandered drowning out the conversation. What happened to her?

The little girl brought me out of my reverie by handing me her paper doll. I shyly took the doll and whispered, “kop jai”.

It wasn’t until years later that I learned their story.

The little girl was with her parents while they were farming their rice field when the father’s shovel struck an UXO killing him and his wife on impact. The little girl part of her right leg due to the explosion. Luckily, her life was saved and my father was one of two village doctors at the scene.

My father told me that this was one of the most difficult times in his career. He had to operate on the child immediately and the only thing that he could think of was that this could have been one of his own children. 

To keep her mind off the pain, my father spoke to the child about paper dolls and how he just bought one for me for my birthday.

After she recovered and was able to walk, the little girl and her grandmother brought a bag of rice, a chicken, and a paper doll to our house as a thank you to my father. My father could have stayed in the heart of Vientiane and worked in the most prestigious hospitals earning a comfortable living but he knew he was needed most in the rural areas where the problems of UXO and other dangers affect the lives of many.

Here at Legacies, we have a gigantic mission ahead of us: to clear Laos of UXO and care for the thousands of survivors. LOVE is why we continue to tirelessly fight for justice.

Your support will help us move mountains.

As I make a wish this year for myself and my father (yes, we share birthday month!), I hope you will join us by making a gift of any amount from now until the end of February and we will send you a special Legacies heart!

Show the world that you care. Join the movement today because #LoveIsWhy!

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