June 05, 2012

In Gratitude: Une vie pour les autres

Every morning Fr Ceyrac takes his crumbling Toyota and drives 60 kms from Aranyaprathet to the refugee camp where he works. The road goes through the rice fields where peasants work with their water buffalos. Before leaving, Fr Ceyrac takes with him food, sweets, cigarettes and magazines. He drives and then stops. He hides the letters in his car, on himself or on the passengers, in their pockets or under their clothes. Further along, three or four soldiers of the Thai army, Task Force 80, stop him at a check point. Fr Ceyrac gives them some cigarettes and magazines.

– ‘Thank you, Father!’ say the soldiers.

Fr Ceyrac repeats the operation at each check-point along the road. Fr Ceyrac is a ‘postman’. He brings news and money to the families in the camp, and this is known among the refugees. He gets letters from Europe and the United States, changes the money in Thailand and brings it directly to their beneficiaries in the camps. He brings with him thousands of dollars. One day, the chief of a check-point asked him to get out of the car. When they checked the car they could not believe their eyes. The driver was carrying an immense quantity of letters and some twenty thousand dollars. The soldiers confiscated the money and opened all the letters. Fr Ceyrac has to explain his behavior before two generals and a colonel. He was then prevented from entering the camp for one month.

Une vie pour les autres, l’aventure du Père Ceyrac,
Jérome Cordelier, Perrin, p. 191-193


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