Ive moved out of the Khemara hotel and am staying at a local’s house with another one of the volunteers at the centre. It’s great because it means I’m closer to the centre and I’m saving lots of money because the stay is free :-). Downside is that I don’t have wifi access in the house so I can’t really update the blog as often.
I’ll try and keep it short as lots has happened in the last few days. It’s been a massive learning curve with regards to the work being done in the centre and at the same time I’ve had a great opportunity to build some friendships with the locals and other volunteers. I’ve mostly been hanging out with 2 other volunteers from Oz, Melissa and Jana. Both great girls and loads of fun. It’s so good to have people to share it all with and debrief at the end of the day over dinner, coffee and ice cold mango shakes. It’s so hot here and you basically have no choice but to suck it up and embrace the dust and filth!
So Mark, Tim and Peter (the Aussie that run the show) all left for Bangkok on Friday morning so we went out for dinner and one too many drinks on the Thursday night. We all had a blast. Peter used to be a stand up drag queen and is just the best company.
In terms of the work in the centre, the days have been sooooo busy. There’s so much to do here and so varied! Basically over the last few days I’ve been knee deep in sorting out medical files and creating snap shot profiles of the children’s history in order to make it easier for other medical volunteers to pick up the medical files and be able to get a clear picture of the child’s medical and social history. There’s 130 kids so you can imagine that it’s no mean feat. The aim is to try and get it all done before next Thursday because myself, Jana, Melissa and Danny are heading off to Vietnam nxt Thursday for a 10 day whirlwind tour of Vietnam, starting in Ho Chi Minh. Melissa then has to head back to Bangkok to fly out and as for me and the others, not sure where we might be headed next. Had a dream about going to Japan last night and I can’t shake off the feeling.
At the moment, I’m sitting in the office in the centre. We’ve just got back from a massive day out in the villages where we have been shooting parts of a documentary to promote particular programs that the centre is involved with. I’ve played the sound assistant to the camera man which has been a unique experience. Probably something I would never get a chance to do back home! The program is focussed on prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV for women and their newly born babies. In a nutshell, the centre provides baby formula and education to the mothers of the newborns to promote use of the baby formula as opposed to breastfeeding, thus reducing the risk if HIV transmission through consumption of the mother’s milk. One of the women we filmed today was the mother of the first baby who was born without HIV through participation in this program. Sadly, her older sister contracted HIV from her mother following child birth and it’s heartbreaking to see them side by side, one looking amazingly fit and healthy and the other not so lucky. This new baby is such a beacon of health and beauty that 5 other women have approached the mother to adopt the baby!
I’ve taken a fair few pics today but can’t really upload because i didn’t bring the transfer cable with me. I’ll put up some pics that the kids took with my phone.
Oh and one last thing….last night, Jana and I assisted Mel the student nurse to hand out worming medications to the kids in the centre. We had to come back at 8.30pm to do this because it has to be given according to a digestion schedule I.e 3 hours post last meal. So they have their dinner at 5 and are in bed by 7 so we ends up having to wake up 70 kids to give them their worming medication and I cannot tell you how cute they were as we woke them up. They had no idea what was going on and pretty much chomping down on these tablets in their sleep….
Gotta go….camera man calling!