Friday, December 26, 2014

Brother Paul Macwan RIP -2

Dear Agnelo,

That was truly sad news of the death of our co-Novice and friend Paul Macwan.

Besides the nearly 4 years in Vinayalaya with him, I was privileged to be in that team of 4 Jesuits viz. Pierre Ceyrac, John Bingham, Paul Macwan and myself who were assigned to work in the Refugee Camp of Phanat Nikhom i.e. from October 1980 till March 1981.  Both of us have been given permission for 6 months only.  This camp was a sort of transit camp where most of the 18,000 or so refugees had been accepted for migration to third countries and had to be cared for until such time that they got official immigration documents.  Most of them were educated Cambodians who had been in the Pol Pot camps and had escaped to Thailand before and after the defeat of the Khmer Rouge.

JRS had not yet been started when we started our Mission.  We went there on behalf of Caritas International and were working under umbrella of the organisation of the Thailand Bishops known as COERR (Catholic Office of Emergency Relief and Refugees).  Paul did a wonderful job there and was immediately given the responsibility by the UNHCR for constructing houses for the Refugees.

If it was not for Br. Paul, who gave me tremendous support and encouragement, I would have not done the little that I could do there.  He had a very close contact with people.  In the Thai town of Phanat Nikhom where we were staying, he got into contact with people.  Very soon he was conducting evening classes in English for some older persons (a couple of them teachers).  In due course he got me involved.  He would take classes for 2 of them and I would take classes for the other 2.  Then, because of his close contact with the Refugees, he realised that many of the Refugees, when they were accepted by 3rd countries were leaving with very little.  He approached me and we both decided to do something.  I got into contact with the Mission Procurators of Germany and Switzerland and very soon started getting financial support from them.  I had told Paul that I would help raise the funds but he had to plan what to do with them.

As soon as we had the funds, he approached two of the Thai ladies whom we were teaching English and they agreed to drive us to Bangkok on a Saturday where we would go to the shopping centre and buy clothes, bags, suitcases and other things needed by the Refugees.etc..  We would then take these to the camps and Paul would be the one who would give them to those who were the next on the list for flying out to either France/USA/Australia or some other country.

With these few paragraphs I just want to say "THANK YOU PAUL!  Thank you for having made those 6 months in Phanat Nikhom so special for me.  May God bless you abundantly for what you have done for so many of us."

All the best Agnelo.  Thank you for keeping me informed.

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