Jan 20, 2009
This morning we learnt that some westerners must give the impressions that everyone has a massive breakfast, but I don't think we helped that by eating it all!
Today we had the orphanage, Dhammaraknivet Project II, and the HIV AIDs Hospice, Wat Phra Baht Nam Phu.
The area around the orphanage started out as an AID's hospital. It now caters for the poor, homeless, sick and any other Thai's in need - and the some 300 resident dogs. People now come here through education now that they know HIV simply cannot be contracted by living next to ainfected person. The land has being donated by the Head Monk which has brought recognition of the area and therefore increased funding. Through this, they have being able to build many small bungalows so families can sstay together. Those that are able to are trained up to work in the community as a gardener, nurse, builder or anything else that they need.
The orphange has recently being upgraded somewhat so the children now sleep on bunk beds instead of matresses on the floor. They also have a special part in the orphange where the HIV infected chirlden go 7am and 7pm every day to have their medication. There are about 85 children ranging in age who live here, and about 55 of them have HIV.
Our tour through the orphange shows that they have so many donations of soft toys that they actually send them off to other, less-fortunate homes. Soft toys probably aren't the first thing that they need, but its the easy present. We bought them equipment they could use in the school, and some books from Australia, so the English teacher at the school might be reading Possum Magic at some stage to the kids! We also saw the music concert hall full of instruments that has being built from donations raised by the Former Thai Miss World.
At 11:30am the children wander back from the nearby school for a lunch of steamed rice, chicken with veg, and a deep fried egg. They left their shoes by the door, picked up a lunch tray and we served them their lunch! Some were so young they couldn't see over the table! The local Mister Donut had donated several boxes of assorted donuts for desserts for the children - and it was clear this was the highlight of the day! After they had eaten, they sang us a song that was beautiful - that was their thankyou for serving them lunch.
After our lunch we headed for the hillsfor the AIDs village. THis is part of a monestry also on land donated by the Head Monk. THis is where people with HIV or AIDs come if they have being emancipated from their community, are too poor, or they have no one to take care of them, or no one wants to take care of them. THis monestry must be also attached to the Miss Worlds, as there are a few pictures here incluyding Jen Hawkins back when she won Miss World.
THe first museum we saw was of mumified bodies of people who had died from AID's. Next to them they had their names, age, occupation and how they contracted age, along with a picture of them. They had all left their bodies to science and further education of the disease. It seemed that these people all wanted something good to come out of something bad.
The seconf museum was of body parts from the deceased, however we couldn't quite get the need for them to be on display as most of the writing was in Thai, except for heart, or lungs.
From here we went through the hospital ward where they basically come to die. Some seemed too jovial to be here, yet some did not seem so far away. The centre doesn't currently have a full time doctor. Once a month they get taken to a doctor for medication but not much more. It doesn't seem quite enough for a place like this, however it wouldn't be an easy job to have.
On our way back to the car, we were asked if we wanted to view a cremation. We politely declined. The 7 crematoriums are a new additions to the centre. The ashes of the deceased are either collected by the families, or placed in bags in front of a Budda in a specially built shelter. I don't know what will happen to them when there are too many. On our way out we stopped by a garden to look at the airwork, thinking that it's some sort of therapy for the resident's. The garden scuptlures were made out of resin and bone. Once again - something good coming out of something so bad.