Friday, May 7, 2010

Acts of Kindness

Last night was the night that "it" finally happened. One week and two days before I leave for Chaing Mia to come home "it" happened. Not sure what I ate but between "it" and 104+ air temperature and a visit to a small Shan community I became extremely ill. The nurse practitioner at the clinic fortunately spoke English. "It" turned out to be an intestinal bacterial infection and dehydration.

As I was given a shot, three types of medication and electrolytes I began to worry if I had enough money because I didn't think they accepted Blue Cross. However, I didn't care whatever the cost. I just wanted to feel better. The verdict came in the treatment cost 70 Bhat or $2.24. At first I was pleased and felt how cheap the health care was in Thailand. “What is the problem with us in the states?” I thought. And then it dawned on me. The average migrant worker is earning $94 a month or less when they can’t work. $2.24 began to seem like a lot of money.

I am tired but feeling better. My neighbors showed their concern for me in various ways. Every time they saw me they asked how I was. Soon I realized that everyone in the neighborhood knew that I was sick. My nearest neighbor brought a cup of cherry soda with ice and cookies to help me to feel better. Sia Sam, the clinic director, came to visit and insisted on taking me to the coffee shop so I could be in air conditioning during the hottest part of the day. As in Africa when I became sick I just wanted to go home and be in my own bed but just like in Africa I learned that the kindness of others is what matters.

The schedule will be winding down. I have 2 community meetings, some case studies, a planning meeting and a monthly report. Then four days of traveling before I arrive home. I am looking forward to being home but will miss beThailand.

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