Travel journal 2011/12 - 7. part
Another month has gone by, actually flown by. We had many cases, some of them very serious, always regarding children. We also had some very pleasant visits like the one from Armando Mucciflora from Thai Airways Rome. We accomplished many things, as always, but today, I'd like to spend a few words on our project in case some of you still have doubts about it. The doubts are my responsibility because I'm not very good at explaining things in a clear and direct way, but lets go by order:
We recently opened our home, called Take Care Kids Shelter. The definition for shelter is: a place where you seek and find shelter and protection. There could be no better definition for what we do. Whoever visits us will hardly ever find a home filled by "hundreds" of kids running around all over the place. Our shelter can host a maximum of 7 mothers with two kids each. All of the cases we take are very serious and generally come from very degraded areas in and around Pattaya (slum areas). So our first priority is to offer shelter and protection to all those abused mothers, street kids, orphans and ill children who ask for our help. Once they come to the shelter we tell those who want to stay (we can't hold them against their will of course) if they want to be part of the long term project which includes schooling for the kids, social security and health care and preparation for a job for the mothers. Everything is done in cooperation with local and regional Social Services and we have also intensified cooperation with some local organizations working in our same field (you can't win any battle without cooperation). The last case we were involved in is a perfect example of this: we found a family of five living on the side of a very busy street in Pattaya, among the bushes, covered by trees and guarded by four stray dogs.
There was a Grandmother with a severely handicapped daughter, an 18 year old pregnant niece with her 7 year old sister and a 32 year old cousin affected by TBC caused by AIDS. The handicapped girl lived in a sidecar, everyone else was on the floor with a coconut mat and the ill cousin had a hardboard as bed and a sun umbrella as roof. As soon as we saw the situation, we called the Aids Center in Rayong and tried to see if we could solve the handicapped girl and the 7 year old child's situation as well. We told the grandmother, her daughter could go to the Lat Krabang Center for people with special needs, and the 7 year old niece could stay at our Shelter but at this point, the grandmother said no. She said she wanted her daughter and niece to be with her. Since the 18 year old pregnant girl was living in another slum with her boyfriend, we contacted social service and told the to look into the situation of the whole family. In the meantime, I was told there was a bed for the woman affected by AIDS at the Rayong Center and all we needed were the necessary papers from Social Services. As soon as they saw the situation the papers were done immediately and this person is now well taken care of at the Aids Center with a clean room, Iv feeding and a chance to get better. This is a great example of perfect cooperation between organizations who are trying to help people living on the edges of society.
It is hard to explain to those who do not live this reality daily, how depressing it gets at times. Especially when you have to clash with other people who are so irresponsible to cry for help and then refuse the offer. And lets not forget about the massive bureaucracy we have to deal with. It must be hard for all those who read about us, or suppor and help us to understand that it is vital for us to keep receving you help and support because the project we have undertaken clashes with many serious interests. But no matter what the difficulty level is, we will keep on going, strengthened by the fact that our Shelter represents many people's last hope for a better life.
a big hug to all