It’s been two weeks since our GlobeMed Grow team has arrived here in Mae Sot, Thailand. For me it’s my first time stepping onto the Asian continent. These past two weeks my friends and I have created so many memories. Not to mention there are two more weeks where we will be able to create more memories. For the past two weeks we have been traveling all over Mae Sot with our companion ATL. He has been showing us all of the beauty that Thailand has to offer while teaching us about the history of Thailand. When ATL takes us into communities to see the people that they work with you instantly create a huge respect for ATL, and SAW as an organization. Seeing the happy faces all around the community also bring out the best in you. You can’t help but look back with a friendly smile. Not only do we go out into the community with ATL, but also we make a lot of plans with SAW to help with the future. These past three days we have made plans for the future of SAW, gone on a scooter ride around the hills of Thailand, and went on a trip with a Mobile Medical Clinic.
As our time here in Mae Sot goes on we felt that there was some changes that we could make to our PAF (Partner Action Framework). The PAF is our agreement with SAW that we discuss together. We both sit down and work out a partnership that we both approve of. Right now our GROW team is working with SAW on creating CHOP 4. CHOP (Community Health Outreach Program) is in its fourth stage. CHOP 4 will begin in September 2015 and will run all the way to August 2016. While we sat down with ATL, we discussed what SAW expects for the future. One of the big things that we learned was that they need more peer leaders in the field. These peer leaders are the main contact to SAW. They communicate to their communities when SAW will be coming and doing a workshop. We really communicated to ATL that we want to do whatever is best for SAW. ATL and the rest of SAW accepted this with open arms, and we created a great PAF for the CHOP 4 stage.
On August 2nd we went on a great adventure with some friends that we have met here. Our friend Matt had a great idea to travel around Thailand through the mountains. Our group knew immediately that we wanted to tag along. The only thing we had to figure out was our mode of transportation. Since we would be traveling out of Mae Sot, we needed something that could go pretty far. Matt suggested that we get scooters, which are pretty easy to obtain. We thought that this would be a wonderful idea and went to the nearest Honda dealer. We were able to rent scooters for 180 baht a day which is roughly around $5.15. This price paid off tremendously for what we were about to see. We then met up with all of our friends at our favorite spot, BoarderLine. There were about 10 of us and everyone had scooters except for two. Anthony was kind enough to let one of our friends Becky ride on the back of his scooter. As we drove on the long stretches of roads I could only think about how peaceful and beautiful Thailand was. Our ride comprised of open roads and long stretches of fields with mountains in the background. While I was driving, my mind felt so free and I was completely relaxed. I had no thoughts of the dangers of driving a two-wheel machine through the roads. The beauty of the land made me think only peaceful thoughts and wish I could do that drive everyday. We all made it back to Mae Sot peacefully and topped of the night with our friends for a traditional Burmese meal.
The next day we joined Dr. Htin Saw with his Mobile Medical Clinic. We went to a familiar community that we had been to before. Once again we were greeted with smiles and politeness. Being in the community you would not suspect anyone to be sick. However, that was not the case; as we sat down in the gathering house we saw people line up for help. As Dr. Htin Saw set up we sat next to him and waited for the patients to come up to him. As patients came up to Dr. Htin Saw he would immediately create trust with the patient. He told us this was very important when treating individuals in the community. Right now it is the rainy season here in Thailand. Most of the patients that came up to Dr. Htin Saw had the common flu. Some other patients come up to him with common aches and pains. When I saw all these patients come up to him I wondered why they just didn’t go to the Mae Tao Clinic. This clinic is free for all patients that come to visit. I was quickly reminded that there are many checkpoints between their community and the Clinic. At these checkpoints the Burmese people might have to pay up to 200 baht ($6.00) to cross. This is a major problem that can hinder many Burmese citizens in seeking medical help. After about two hours Dr. Htin Saw had seen about 30 patients. Not too bad for a community of 200 people.
There was so much that was done in these two days, and there was never a moment that I wasn’t learning something. We went through a planning stage for the future, a fun time with friends, and watching a Doctor help a community regain health. These three days have been an amazing experience, one I will all remember for a long time to come.