Friday, 6 December 2013

Aid Project "Humedica" & "Partner´s Relief and Development"

Since April 2012 we are travelling by bicycle from Germany/Austria to New Zealand. Due to the fact, that we will gain some attention on this trip by using Facebook and Blogspot, we decided to use this item to support people, who have not the same luck as us. Until today both of us had a very good life. We know that there are so many other countries with people, who have so many problems, not able to solve them by their own.

In November 2011 Gerd made a phonecall to Humedica ( and Steffen Richter, the press spokesman, invited him to come to Kaufbeuren/Germany. It was a hearty welcome! Gerd met many people there, and it was a great pleasure to meet the founder of Humedica, Mr. Wolfgang Gross. A small guided tour through the organisation made an excellent impression.

Now we are glad to sustain „Partner´s Relief and Development (PRAD)“, the partner organisation of Humedica in Thailand (, helping people from Myanmar !

Main fields are :

  • education of local people in first aid and basic medical treatment, i.e diarrhea, worms , malaria, pneunomia, nutrition, dehydration, hygiene and anaemie
  • implementation of a village health worker and introducing a hygienic education of local person
  • Medics/nurses are educated for a local group. their knowledge is up to make amputations (caused by landmines or bad accidents). Smaller clinics in bigger villages.
  • transport of patients and support, including interpretors.

farming support: visiting the farmers in Myanmar and showing how to grow plants and increase crop yield without fertilizer. Using fertilizers is a method from the Myanmar goverment to make farmers dependend on the state banks. The majority of the farmers are poor and have to run into debts.

Social development
support people to develop community spirit. , widows, pregnant women, stepchilds.

Supporting schools.

distribution of every day needed products like toothbrushes in the refugee camps (food is provided by other organisations)

Our visit in Mae Sot/Thailand at Partner´s Relief & Development:
We arrived in Thailand on Aug 2nd . After some days of sighseeing and organisation Gerd went by bicycle up to Mae Sot. Astrid arrived one day later with her friend Sophie from Austria. Marci Haigh ( Health Projects Manager, Mae Sot Branch ) was our contact person in Mae Sot and first gave us an excellent overview.
The next day we had a meeting in the branch office, where Marci explained us the structure and tasks of PRAD very detailed. We had a lot of questions as much of the things she told us were far beyond our life experiance. 

meeting so many great people from PRAD!

at the HQ, Marci gave as an overview about PRAD

Then we joined Marci visiting a young girl in the hospital, suffering from TBC (tubercolosis).
Naw K'Pru is a 15 year old girl who started to feel ill November 2012. She suffered from mild fevers, abdominal pain and weight loss. She started to get swelling in her abdomen. Local medics diagnosed her with abdominal TB and gave her 6 months of treatment. After treatment, she felt much better and gained back weight. The swelling in her abdomen remained. She was embarrassed because many people assumed that she was a young pregnant teen. PRAD helped her get to hospital and do some medical testing. They found a very massive cyst. This is locally known to be an after-effect of the abdominal TB. The cyst was pressing on her kidney causing some damage. We helped her to get surgery so that her kidney wouldn't be further damaged. Now she is so happy to have a slim tummy like her friends.

Two days later we visited a refugees camp, where a former patient of PRAD lives. Well, the people there have a very poor life. Only bamboo huts and most of them nothing to do the whole day. we had a long conversation with the woman and she told us her life:

Naw Wah Per is a 40 year old teacher from a small village in the mountains of Karen State. She lives in Kay Pu village which has been the setting of war for many years. She had to run from the attacks of the government soldiers and hide with her students in the jungle on many occasions. In late 2012 she suffered a miscarriage. Afterwords she felt sick and had abdominal pain for many months. The local medics did not have all the correct medicine to treat her. They sent her to the border area. PRAD arranged for complete treatment and also gave her a full health check up. After taking treatment and eating good food she felt much better. Now she has gone home to her village and will again work as a teacher with the start of the next school term.

at the refugee camp

Naw Wah Per, 2nd from left.

Well, the other refugees regarded us with curiosity and the security guard kept a wary eye on us. Taking pictures was allowed, but when Gerd startet to use the videocamera, the guard told him to stop.
If you see such a camp, it is very depressing. Astrid and me come from such rich country and these people have nothing, not even freedom. Albania, Laos and Cambodia are very poor, too, but people can move, here not. The political situation in Myanmar currently becomes better, but nobody knows, how long this process will last. Again time to think about the important things in life and how lucky we are, despite all the problems in Europe.

Gerd worked for a long time as a manager financial accounting and controlling. Therefore it was evident that we asked for much more details, how donations will be handled.

There are three posibilities to send money to our fundraising project:

  1. Website Partner´s Relief and Development (
  2. Betterplace (
  3. directly connected with our blog/Facebook

ad 1.
Your donations goes directly to PRD. 11% of all donations is set aside to cover the salary and benefits of the local staff and 4% for the office rent and utilities.

ad 2. Humedica collects the money and transfers it without any deductions to PRD. 11% of all donations is set aside to cover the salary and benefits of the local staff and 4% for the office rent and utilities.

ad.3 the link on our blog will lead your directly to

All foreign workers at PRAD are volunteers who are independently supported. The local staff (from Thailand or Myanmar) are paid a fair salary which is according to their performance, qualifications and seniority.

Marci showed us the monthly profit-and-loss-report from the inhouse system and it makes an professional impression. Of course, Gerd did not checked the details by himself, but the acoounting and reports are examined by a Thai public auditor and we got it by email. We have no doubts, that all financial affairs are done in a very professional way.

For us it is a matter of heart to support PRAD and we would be glad, if more people could help them.
The costs for one person, coming from Myanmar, is 45 EUR and all kind of amount is highly welcome, whether you can donate 5 EUR or more.

Here are again the other links for donating:

Thank you so much for your help !

Merry Christmas !


Astrid Fischer & Gerd Müller

river between Thailand and Myanmar

brigde from Thailand (right) to Myanmar

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Thailand Part I

Since Aug 3rd we are now in Thailand. Much bigger and much better roads than in Cambodia. And much cleaner.In Pong Nam we had our first supermarket. A SevenEleven !
Yes, buying proper food on the road was so difficult the last months, now such a big comfort. We cycled to Chanthaburi, a small city, which is well-known for jewelry and gems. We know nothing about this so we did not buy anything. Our trip lead along the coast, the next city was Klaeng. In Bang Sare we had a homestay. Rene from Belgium and his lovely woman were so friendly and we enjoyed the one we had with them. Next city was Rayon and in Bang Phra we had at Daruma Ecofarm another homestay. Neil Willmann, a US-American, runs this farm and it was so amazing to visit his project. We were a little bit in a hurry, because a friend starts to have a stopover at BKK airport and we wanted to meet each other there.
We cycled to the airport and it was great to meet Michael! Only 45 minutes, because his plane was delayed but much fun.
The next day we arrived in Bangkok. What an amazing city ! A lot of traffic, but car drivers are so careful and not using their horns. We met Stephan from Switzerland again. He is an owner of a software company in his country and a globetrotter. We know him from Angkor Wat and he lives in BKK. Yeah, really small world, and we are happy to keep in touch with him. Some days later Sophie, Astrid´s best friend, arrived from Austria, spending three weeks for holiday.
We all went by bus to Kanchanaburi, where the famous bridge leads over the river Kwai. The movie „The River Kwai Bridge“ is quite far away from the truth, but this bridge was build by prisoners of war by Japan. An exposition with paintings and letters from the POWs there tells the stories of them, suffering from bad nutrition, illnesses, tortures and bad working conditions caused by the Japanes army.
Next step was visiting the Erawan National Park. Not bad, quite beautiful waterfalls, but it was very touristic. Astrid and Sophie stayed one day longer, I was on the way back to BKK.
Some more sight-seeing in Bangkok, i.e. The Palace....... The snakefarm at the Red Cross was a big highlight. King Cobra and krait and pythons... watching a King Cobra being milked, was a great experience.
As most of our friends know is, that we support Humedica, a smaller aid organisation in Germany. Its partner organisation is „Partner´s Relief and Development“, which supports the people from Myanmar. We are fundraising for them and wanted to visit this organisation.

An extra report will follow, but I do not want to deny you some highlights on the way up to Mae Sot.

When coming from the River Kwai, Astrid and Sophie already visited Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand,. I went by bicycle to Mae Sot and the road was quite boring. But this city was on the direct way and I took the chance to make some sight-seeing. There were many interesting temples, but unfortunetly destroyed by former wars. The museum gave an excellent overview about the history, which showed a big wealth.
Another stop for me was in Kamphaeng Phaet. Not as touristic as Ayutthaya but a beautiful historic park. When I cycled through the large area a group of Thai students stopped me. They were learning English, which they need for being a tour guide. And they asked me if I could act as a guinea pig. It was so funny with them ! They were a little bit shy but they made a good job :-)

Some statistics:
BKK-Ayutthaya: 95 km, 10.000 km in total
Ayutthaya- Sing Buri: 73 km
Sing Buri – Nakhon Sawan: 100 km
Nakhon Sawan – Kamphaeng Phet: 126 km (new record)
Kamphaeng Phet – Tak: 70 km
Tak – Mae Sot: 85 km; one of my toughest and most exhausting rides (many steep climbs).

All together, we went by bus back to BKK. One day later, we took the bus to Trat, then heading to Koh Kood for diving.
Well , seven days and only raining..... not very amusing.
Sophie had to fly back to Austria, so we left Koh Kood on Sept 20th.
Back in BKK we discussed the next steps. We already had our visa extended until Oct 31st. Astrid wanted to start to learn diving and we appreciate the Happy Day Guesthouse on Koh Kood very much. Mike the owner of the guesthouse has a diving school, so we decided to do it there. Min, his partner, is an perfect cook, so no reason to hesitate :-).
Astrid was a little bit ill and had to take antibiotics. Better for her to take the bus. I went by bicycle again. Well, mainroad and very boring.

Some more statistics:

BKK - Chonburi: 85 km
Chonburi - Chantaburi:172 km, 8h 50min; new record !! a little bit proud ;-)
Chantaburi – Trat: 70 km
Trat - Pier to Koh Kood: 24 km, then two hours by boat

since Oct 5th now on Koh Kood for diving :-)


Sophie and Astrid in the Palace

wooden palace in Bangkok

one of the bombs which hit the river Kwai bridge, this one did not explode.

the famous River Kwai Bridge

waterfall at the Erawan NP

on the way to waterfalls of the Erawan NP

getting venom from the snakes.

the King Cobra. no pet !

the Krait, venomous, too, but "only" at night . 

temple in Ayutthaya

two friendly women, who gave me roasted bananas and refused my money !

group of students, learning English .

on the way to Mae Sot. steep hills will exhaust me .

very old transport bike .

gems in Chanthaburi

after a very long time, at the sea again !

our host Rene with his lovely wife

Neil, our second host, at his eco-farm . great project !

BKK airport

Friday, 30 August 2013

Goodbye Cambodia

Well, since August 3rd were are now in Thailand. Time to update our blog !

We already told you about the brutal slash-and-burn policy. Day for day we cycled along these spaces. It is really sad. This was the reason why we enjoyed the elephant valley project so much. The forest in the area of Sen Monorom was destroyed, too, but it had time to grow. The elephants now live in their natural area, looking for food, taking a bath in the river. Amazing! 

We wanted to cycle from Kratie to Phnom Phen, but on the bus trip to the elephant valley I got an bad inflammtaion of my ears with high temperature for days. I had to take antibiotics so it made no sense to sit on a bike. Kratie is the provincial capital, small, dirty, some temples and less restaurants.It was raining every day, sometimes for hours and we spent most of our time in the small hotel room. The atmosphere was like in a prison. The evening before when we wanted to start to Phnom Phen by bus, we met Michael and Kavita from Germany. They run a small resort on an island in Cambodia and it was their first holiday for the last 5 years. They have a VW bus and they invited us to join them on the way to the capital. Yeah , no reason to hesitate ! Knowing, that our bikes will have a safe transport and I won´t have to sit in a bloody bus with too less space for my legs made us really happy ! We had a funny trip to P.P. , and Kavita and Michael are very nice people. We stayed in the same hotel and had two good days.
As you know, in the 70ies of the last century the „Khmer Rouge“ 
( ( with their chief Pol Pot terrorized the country. between 1.5 to 2 million people were tortured and killed. You can visit „S21“, the torture prison and the „killing fields“ , but we decided not do this. We know from Kavita, that it will makes you so depressive.

Due to the fact that we only had a 30 day-visa we took a bus to Siem Reap for visiting Angkor Wat ( the „mother of all tempels“ . If you have visited Angkor, you will not visit no more other temples. Ok, small joke :-) it is gorgeous ! 

So amazing, so impressing !!!! 

it is the national proud of Cambodia. Even on the flag there is a part of the temple.
There are roughly 3Million visitors per year, but we had good luck, it is low season and no problems with too many visitors. We took our bikes for doing sight-seeing. The area is so large, one day we did 40 km, then 20 km and 15km during our 3-day-ticket.
The ruins are very interesting. They tell so many stories about wars, daemons, heroes, living of the farmers, they are written in sandstone. Angkor Wat is only one of all the temples but the absolutley holy place..... It was built in 1100 A.D. It was built as a Hindu temple, but later adapted to Buddhism.
Ta Phrom is one of these temples which has only a small maintenance. The jungle takes the temple back. Roots are growing into the stones and break them. This fascinating atmosphere was used in the movies „Indiana Jones“ and „Tomb Raider“. The German GIZ and the University of Cologne are helping to restore the stones.

Angkor Thom is the temple with big faces, looking to the jungle. Expressive faces, silently monitoring the surroundings.

The Ta Nai temple was very beautiful, too. In a short documentary we got information about the
restoration. There were no other tourists, except two travellers from Austria. A tropical rain started and made the enchanted atmosphere perfectly.
Three days seeing stones... well, honestly in one of my dreams during the night, I lived in a ruined castle, all around me only stones. No joke ! :-)

Another highlight for me was to visit my second godchild in the SOS Children´s Village (
in Siem Reap. Dun is 6 years old and lives with his brother and his sister in a nice family. We bought a soccer ball, Nutella and some apples. As in Bishkek/Kyrgyzstan, this village is well-organised and the children have a good life there.

We went by boat to Battambang. First we crossed the Lake Tonle Sap, the largest in South-East-Asia. He has many fishes and it is caused by an amazing effect. The lake has only one drain, which leads to the river Mekong. In dry season the river flows into the Mekong. During rainy season, the lake has so many inflows from the Mekong and other rivers or creeks.
People living there built floating villages. swimming houses, markets and instead of motobikes, boats.
When we entered the boat we had been the only passengers. An hour later and on the river there were more and more people coming onto the boat. Totally overcrowded. Astrid spent the trip on the roof, ignoring the heavy rain. I spent the time in a narrow seat, too small for my long legs.

The last highlight in Cambodia was the „bambootrain“, the only railtrack in the country. There is no more official use, but some sections are opened for tourists. Small bamboo platforms with a little engine , highspeed 30km/h. So funny ! There is only one track, so if there is oncoming traffic, one train is demount, the other can pass, and then the plattform with wheels back on the track.

The last kilometer we cycled to the border. When we looked for a place to sleep, we always searched for a bamboo hut or even a guesthouse. There are still many landmines close to the road and many times there was heavy rain. 

Unfortunetly Cambodia is very dirty. There is no apprehension for trash management. And poverty is no excuse for throwing all the garbage into the landscape. Food on the road was hard to find. Only cookies and chips. Better food only in the supermarkets in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

Cambodia was a great experience, too. Poor, but very friendly and loughing people, despite the horrible history. I will come back, but I do not know, when.

We crossed the border to Thailand, and it began to be so different ! But this in our next blog.

Mekong bicycle trail, with signs !

slash and burn. what a shame !

one-room apartment.

no pyjama ! funny fashion, which many women wear :-)

limbs and prosthesis in Siem Reap

Bamboo Train

very friendly people at the Bamboo Train Station

a little bit of rain ;-)

Giom and Felix, we met them in Bishkek, now in Siem Reap. so great !

boat to Battambang. overcrowded

they remove landmines

our house for one night, protecting us from heavy rain.

still alive, but they sold it fried ! we did not tast it !!!

lifting tool

band of landmine victims

ice-supply for the smaller shops