Yesterday I was finally able to pick up the passports and visas for Le Nhut Giang and his mother Le Thi Phuong to travel to Brisbane, Australia. Once there Giang is booked into the Royal Children’s Hospital where he will undergo surgery to relieve the some of the traumas associated with the severe burns that he has suffered to most of his body.
You may recall that in previous articles I wrote that it was found that Le Thi Phuong had traces of TB in her lungs and consequently she would not be given permission to accompany Giang to Brisbane. I also mentioned the case here and again here.
Subsequent testing on Le This Phuong found that the TB was inactive and the Health Authority in Australia has given permission for her to travel there. This has been a long and difficult exercise as Giang and Phuong must travel for a long time from their home near the border with Cambodia to get to HCMC and every time they travel the mother has had to borrow money from her sister and cousin to pay for the bus fare and buy some food. I have been paying her this money back and ROMAC have been supporting her in this regard.
Right now I’m waiting for the travel agent to open so that I can book the flight for them. Hopefully that will be on Wednesday and I will meet them at the airport with Mimi where we can give them their travel documents and some cash for departure tax and travel money. It is ironic that the US$12 each that I will give them for the tax would be enough to keep them for a very long time in their home village. Considering that Le Thi Phuong normally borrows about VND 150,000 every time she comes to HCMC (US$10) and this takes her months to pay back if in fact she can pay it back at all.
What an exciting prospect for these two. They have never entered an airport before let alone flown half way around the world. We must explain every step of the check in procedure and what they need to do at their stop over and hope for the best. I am very excited for them as I have found young Giang to be an exceptional young guy considering the disfigurement that he has had to live with.
Now I have about another 6 potential patients to assist get to Australia for operations. I will report further in due course.