The Case Of The Barefoot Inebriated Russian In The Night

It is Friday evening, and I was minding my own business in the teacher’s house, when one of the students who is staying here at Legacy over the winter break came to the door and said to me, “Achan [teacher], you need to come quick. There’s police and a farang in the main room.” Thinking the worst, I grabbed my passport and put it in my pocket and walked over to the main room, where we hold services and teach some of our classes and eat. There, sitting in a chair was a barefoot Russian man named Denis Gudkov who lives in Chiang Mai with his Thai girlfriend, has a Russian passport with Thai visa valid until late February, and a hospital card for Chiang Mai Ram Hospital that includes special information about cardiac care.

And why, pray tell, would a probably inebriated and barefoot Russian whom I have never met in my life (and who was a pretty nice fellow, even if he had rather buggy eyes and didn’t smell strongly of alcohol) end up at my school with a policeman? Well, as it happened someone driving a private van (whose business card I ended up with from the Royal Thai Policeman) saw him walking on the 107 highway outside of my village and brought him in, and apparently I was the first farang around, since the man did not speak Thai and the policeman did not speak English. Fortunately I had a couple of translators around to help me out.

Aside from being barefoot, obviously disoriented (he didn’t have a clue where he was, though he did know where he lived, fortunately) and having the habit of swallowing frequently, as he seemed to have throat problems, he was as fairly nice fellow as far as random people are concerned. He explained to me that he either had gotten or was about to get his work visa, and that he was on his second Thai girlfriend (apparently he has been here for a little over a year and was having a bad time after breaking up with his first girlfriend), who has no money and no bike. Since he doesn’t even have shoes, apparently, that’s not too big of a problem, I guess. He knows some English, more Italian, and obviously Russian. Apparently he was a university student in Italy but did not finish his studies (he said it was a “long story” and those are usually bad).

It is quite remarkable how much information you can learn about someone you have never met before and with whom you only slightly have a common language (he was amused by my poor Italian and even worse Russian), though I am still a bit mystified as to how he got from Chiang Mai to Mae Rim by foot anyway. There has to be some story there as to what happened (he might have been walking all day) as he is clearly not all there. At any rate, I now have a truly bizarre story of how I spent my Friday night interviewing/interrogating a barefoot and disoriented Russian before a fellow teacher was able to drive him home safely (after I spotted him a couple hundred baht for gasoline for his bike). No one ever said life in the little village wasn’t exciting sometimes.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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6 Responses to The Case Of The Barefoot Inebriated Russian In The Night

  1. A delightfull story, and I am happy that it ended well for all. I just hope that his situation improves in a short time. He may be a spy, lol, but who knows for sure. In any event, life goes on, and we all have to go back to what we were doing before and file this sort of thing as another absurd event in the lives of so and whomever. This situation points to something that I have realized in regard to religion (churches as places of sanctuary, comfort and care) and its proper place in society.

    Too often it is reported that the “agendas” of the church is to fill the pews and collection plates, and when something as what you have just described happens, filling the pews and collection plates is never thought of as the primary concern. The primary concern is only that of attending to a fellow human being in immediate need and sending him on his way without asingle thought of making sure that he is saved, or attempting to prostylise him.

    It is a sad reality that the major concensus is that the church has a premeditated agenda, and that primary care and concern is given only with the hope of making another member to fill the pews and collection plate. This type of ambiance, or “air” of suspicion permeates all societies and is one of the main reasons for the failing interest in religion and God in particular.

    It would be a hard campaign to try and rid society of this dark perception of what the true purpose is for the building of churches as places of “sanctuary, comfort, and care”.

    Build it and they will come, and they may stay, but only if you do not try to make them stay or try to make them feel guilty about their ignorance of God’s law.

    We must remember Phillip and the eunuch, and understand what it means in that Phillip baptised him and never saw him ever after. In the emmediate sense, Philip was the eunuch’s sanctuary, comforter and caregiver, while in the long run it will be God who completes the eunuch’s salvation.

    Phillip, it could be said, did have a premeditated agenda to fill the pews and collection plate, however the church, is the spiritual church built without hands that Phillip was intrested in filling, also, his attempt to make the eunich a member of the spiritual church of God is more in line with the true purpose and calling of all believers..

    • I don’t know how premeditated you can say that Philip was. He wasn’t even an ordained minister when he baptized the eunuch (though he clearly had God’s blessing), nor the Samaritans for that manner. And could you please explain what your comments about the church have to do with my post? I’m just having a bit of trouble seeing the connection.

  2. Your post is beautiful as you did show concern for the man’s safety and well-being and then sent him on his way. This to me is poetry when I hear such things. It is not something that is a big secret that many people believe the church to have an agenda to fill the pews and collection plates as you have said on certain occasions yourself. I was pointing out that we need to find a way for the world to view the church as a place of sanctuary, comfort and care as you did show to that man, also I believe that you did not make an attempt to make him a member of any organization, and I am not even suspicious that you invited him to come back for a visit, although I do believe that you are a welcoming and a concered individual. No ill intent here. I love you Nathan:)

    • That makes more sense. I’m not really a person with a great deal of hidden agendas. When I have an agenda I make it fairly obvious. Nor do I seem to have a native tendency for obsession with wealth, though I imagine my life would be a bit more comfortable if logistics were a natural talent.

  3. Pingback: Pop Goes The Ankle | Edge Induced Cohesion

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