From Thighland to Thailand

March 3, 2010

Thailand 3.13

Filed under: Uncategorized — markchinmd @ 3:57 pm

Thailand 3.13

March 3, 2010-Wednesday-13th day

See Jennifer’s blog  at now with video! and

Medical Team International is down the home stretch.   Today’s period of rest and relaxation was fulfilled by a trip to the Princess Mother’s Mae Fah Luang garden.  She was the mother of the King of Thailand.  The beautiful garden is hard to describe unless you were there and had the usual and unusual plants and vegetation.  This was located way up the mountain about an hour away in the Mae Fah Luang district from Chiang Rai city.  There is also The Doi Tung Royal Villa where the royal family spends time away from the palace.  It’s like a large rustic cabin situated in the forest.  You can visit for more information. The Princess Mother established the Doi Tung development project to provide land for farmers to grow crops instead of opium.  We visited a factory where we saw how some paper is made from the pulp of mulberry, pottery factory, coffee plantation, and clothing factory.  It is amazing to see how the threads are woven together and then weaved on looms to get different patterns to generate colorful material…all by hand.  These workers work hard in monotonous jobs sitting on floors or on desks or in this looms.  Not an enviable position but pays the bills I suppose.  This type of blue collar job is not for me.  This gave us the opportunity to by better quality products such as scarf’s, purses, clothing, pottery, and coffee to help support the local economy and satiate our appetite for shopping.

Tomorrow we will be going to a Lahu village, another hill tribe group.  So far we have treated several different ethnic members of the hill tribes including Akha, Hmong, Khmu, and Mien as well as some Thai citizens.  The following day we will be going to a school of several hundred children.  We went there about 4 years ago.  We wanted to go back to the prison but were unable to be granted permission.  The closest we got to being in a prison was in Myanmar and instead of blue uniforms, we would have had orange ones. So far we have treated 1225 patients keeping in mind the setback in Myanmar where we lost a day and a half.  In the beginning of the trip I was hoping for a goal of “2010 in 2010” and it might be possible.  I have to remind myself that quality of care and providing quality of living for these people takes treating them one by one and that its not the quantity of people treated.  Already this trip has made a tremendous impact physically and spiritually.  The Chinese have a saying when things are very good they say its “Best Quality”.  That’s our goal: to provide the best quality care that we can in the conditions that we face.

These mission trips allow us to build relationships with others.  Pastor pointed out that many ethnic groups that we encounter don’t look you in the eye, but an old man, after he got his glasses, came up to Pastor and looked into his eyes and said, “I see you.”  I guess he’s saying I’m connecting with you.

Our devotion makes us realize that when we go on this missions it’s by God’s hands and not our own.   The Akha and the Khmu have visions that border on what some may think are of delusions of grandeur.  But they are not delusions; it is a testament of their faith.  They don’t hope that “if it will happen”, but plan on “when it will happen.”  They are teaching US a lesson in faith.

Medical Team International (giving you a break in blogging)…signing off.

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