I think it was 17 or 18 years ago that Robroy ‘Mac” MacGregor and I first met. I’d been working with Aki Ra for a few years at that point, as had Mac and his friends Gerry and Bomber. All three were Australian Vietnam veterans. They had traveled to Vietnam, I guess the best way I understood it, to confront their memories, their ghosts. While there they took a side trip to Cambodia to see the temples of Angkor Wat. They visited the Landmine Museum run by Aki Ra. As had Jill and I, they were moved beyond words by what Aki Ra was doing; both in clearing unexploded ordnance and caring for the victims, at the time all kids. And all landmine victims.
Aki Ra introduced us and we all decided we should be coordinating our efforts. So we did.
They went home and started raising money to help Aki Ra in his work, as did Jill and I. Bomber and Gerry are gone now, and the group the three of them founded, the Vietnam Veterans Mine Clearing Team – Cambodia, has folded. The VVMCT provided years of support, and tons of equipment for Aki Ra’s NGO: Cambodian Self Help Demining. Their contributions made it possible for CSHD to grow into what they are today.
Mac traveled here often, and he I would meet up whenever he was in town. We’d fallen out of touch during the pandemic, but reconnected earlier this year. I’d been thinking about resurrecting the blog on the website, and Mac asked me to keep him up to date on what’s happening over here. So it seemed a natural to do both together and call the Blog “DEAR MAC”.
So who is Mac MacGeregor. Well, he has been described as a “ruggedly good looking bloke, with an engaging personality” and a wealthful of knowledge. I would add that he’s someone who cares much more for others than for himself. He lives near Brisbane with his wife. He’s got kids and grand-kids to keep him busy, but he’s never forgotten those left behind or his friends here in Cambodia.
So, I’ll try and post this blog regularly and keep Mac, and anyone else who wants to read it, up-to-date on what we’re doing.