Monday, October 09, 2017

Please Support Mae Tao Clinic GED Fundraiser


PLEASE SUPPORT MAE TAO CLINIC GED FUNDRAISER
Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC) is very happy to announce our fundraising project to support the GED projects at Mae Tao Clinics’ Child Development Center.   Monies Raised will go to Mae Tao Clinic and will be designated for GED related expenses, specifically::


  1. Salary of  their GED Coordinator / Teacher for this year
  2. Food and Lodging for 4 students preparing to take the GED at Beam in Chiang Mai
  3. GED test for 4 students in Chiang Mai
  4. GED test for 19 students at CDC in Mae Sot
To successfully fund all these efforts we need to raise some 334,000 THB ( $10,450 USD).   We really need your help!    For only $250.00 USD you can fund the GED test for a bright young person who, with the opportunity, might just make a significant contribution to his or her world.   Of course we will be grateful for contributions of any amount. 

HOW TO CONTRIBUTE:

  1. Make a direct deposit to our   MTC Fundraising Bank Account:
          BANK:   BANK OF BANGKOK,  Kad Suan Kaew  branch
          SWIFT CODE:  BKKBTHBK
          ROUTING NO:  026-008-691 (For USA)
          ACCOUNT HOLDERS:  MS MALIWAN-KAEWAMPHAI AND MR GERALD EDWARD NELSON
          ACCOUNT NUMBER:  424-407348-4
  1. Our crowd funding site:    https://www.youcaring.com/maetaoclinic-966490
  1. If you are in Chiang Mai, just hand me cash and I will deposit it in the account making sure you get the credit you deserve for your generosity.  
Please note that part of my personal contribution will be to cover all banking charges related to this fundraising campaign.  When you donate money all of that money will go to the Mae Tao Clinic to support this important program! 



Why Support the GED Project?  

There are many migrant and refugee children in the Mae Sot area, perhaps about 13,000. Due to their immigration and economic status, many cannot attend school.  Others are afforded an opportunity to attend Migrant Learning Centers.  These students do not receive a Thai high school diploma; thus, they are currently ineligible to apply for attendance at university.   However, those who successfully pass the GED test are eligible to apply for international universities.

Mae Tao Clinic’s Child Development Center has continued to provide education to displaced children from Burma and children of migrant workers living in Thailand. The General Education Development (GED) program has continued with the BEAM foundation in Chiang Mai for 2017. Between 2010 to 2016, 52 students from CDC, schools in the refugee camps and other migrant learning centers were sponsored to participate in the GED program. This allows them grade 12 equivalency which in turn allows the students to access universities. Twenty-three of these students are currently enrolled at university and one has already graduated with a Bachelor of Education. Naw Gold Rain, previously a student at CDC, is now a teacher at CDC.  (See CDC Success Story below).  One of the classes that she is teaching is Pre-GED, preparing some 20 students to take the GED test

There is a severe shortage of funding at Mae Tao Clinic due to the loss of major donors who have chosen to give their funds to organizations based inside Myanmar.   Mae Tao Clinic is being forced to make drastic cuts in services and programs.  

The situation along the Thai / Burma border is becoming more critical.  Big donors such as USAID have chosen to cancel funding for organizations on the Thai side of the border, leaving critical services in many organizations, including Mae Tao Clinic, without funding.   Unfortunately, one of the necessary budget cuts facing the Mae Tao Clinic is the elimination of their GED program.  They need all the help they can get.   Chiang Mai International Rotary Club will raise funds to support the GED. efforts being undertaken by Mae Tao Clinic Child Development Center.    We need you help!      

CDC Success Story

Meet Naw Gold Rain, a product of the Child Development Center and now one of their English Teachers and Student Advisor.    




Her detailed story is below.   Here is an extremely brief summary:
  • 2008 –2009  - :Student at CDC
  • 2010 – 2012 - Studied G.E.D. in Minma Haw, Mynmar
  • 2012 – 2016 – Studied at Asia Pacific International University in Saraburi Province Thailand made possible by a scholarship from Child’s Dream Foundation.   She graduated 22 May 2016 with a degree in education
  • 27 May 206 to present:   Teacher at CDC.  Naw Gold Rain is teaching English.  She is advisor to the Student Council and serves as the scholarship coordinator.   She is a living example of what can be attained even in desperate situations! 

Education is the most sustainable thing we can possibly facilitate.  Knowing full well that there are many brilliant children with little or no opportunities because of their political and economic situation CMIRC and Mae Tao Clinic is considering a project to provide General Education Development (G.E.D.) scholarships to qualified migrant children in the Mae Sot area.  

\\ Naw Gold Rain’s story as written by the Child Development Center//

Being a migrant student especially in CDC school last six years ago was like making a risky investment for the future. Unless there was luck, no one could reach to their highest potential. Last six years ago, when she was a CDC’s high school student, the opportunities for young adults were very limited since most students had no legal document.  she had always felt insecure regarding her future education and career like her other classmates because there had been no one who continues university education before her patch. On contrast, she felt that she was loved and cared by the CDC teachers and staffs. She received the best education that she ever had in her past school years. She had never studied English with native speaker when she was in her mother land. It was unaffordable for her family to give her a chance to study with native English speakers. The support and encouragement that she received from CDC family was very magnificent. Even though CDC was not able to send her to the university directly, teachers helped to find many alternative ways to enter the university.  With the love and help from CDC school, she was able to enter to GED program (General Education Development) in 2011 after she finished her high school in CDC.

She studied GED program for a year with 24 classmates. It was very competitive and intensive since the chance of getting scholarship was less than the number of the students. Out of 24 students, only the top 7 would be able to go to university.  Unless she was at the top of the class, she would not make it to the university. So, she felt that every day was a war for all of her who was studying in GED program. Teachers kept tracking their daily and monthly assessment to compare with the past and present skills. She was able to survive in the ring with the help of her skills from CDC school and supports from CDC family such as stipend, dry food and some toiletries. When the time came, she was selected as a candidate to study in the university with full scholarship. she became one of the very first CDC students who went to the university. 

With the GED certificate, She was accepted to study Education and Psychology in Asia Pacific International University in 2012. She had experienced university life and was able to fulfill her dream that she once thought impossible. She did not need to worry about tuition fees, living expenses as well as pocket money when she was studying. Her university life was easy and smooth which made her forgot all the hardships that she endured when she was young.  After four years in university, 28 years of her life, she successfully received her first bachelor degree which made her into the first CDC student to graduate from an international university.

After all these years, she has learned that for a person to fulfill his or her dreams, the person itself and environment are very important. It is necessary for a person to have willingness, supporter and wait for the right timing to be able to achieve his or her goal. No matter how much she tried and work hard if there was no one who showed her the right path, it would take her longer to reach her goal. Therefore she believes that if she did not get to study in CDC school, she will not be who she is today. Through the guided of CDC teachers, she was now standing in front of 77 students teaching what she has learned from the past years.

Currently, she was teaching grade 11 and 12 students in CDC school. Although teaching high school students especially in CDC school is not easy, she is still grateful for the chance. Since the beginning of the school years, every day is full of challenges. In a classroom, there are around 25 to 28 students with   5 different levels. Teaching different levels of students is quiet challenging and tiring. Sometime make her wanted to give up on teaching. As she continues teaching, she begins to fall in love with teaching and understand her students more. On the other hand, she has been as a student in migrant learning centre as the same situation with currently students. But the opportunities are more coming to CDC. However, she believes that with the experience of teaching in CDC school, she will be able to go up to another level easily when the time comes and apply her experience with meaningfully. She was helping CDC students to make a change in their life. She said that She was guiding CDC students like what her previous teachers did with her last six years ago. She comes back to CDC school in order to show her gratitude as well as helping children who are hungry of education. There is no doubt that she understands the students more than anyone else since she was once a student in this school.

Since she fulfills one of her dreams, she was looking forward to another one which is her Master Degree again. After two years in CDC, she plans to continue her further study with education administration and develop the high education for young leader again with education. She ever talks about that before she knew CDC, her life was hard and her future was vague. Luckily her life has change ever since she gets to know CDC school. She says “Like a seed meet the correct temperature and grow into a healthy plant, I meet the temperature that is just right for me”. And nowadays, CDC school has become the source of her success.

4 Students at BEAM




GED Program for Higher Education

The GED (General Education Development) program, an American-based and internationally recognized non-formal high school diploma course, allows students without formal education backgrounds to receive an official high school diploma which is typically required for accessing tertiary education. Courses include Language Arts Reading and Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies. At BEAM, the majority of courses are taught by native English speaking volunteers to effectively prepare students for the exams.

Migrant students from many different ethnic groups from Myanmar come to BEAM to study together with the hopes of achieving recognized high school certificates. Many strive to continue their education and apply to international programs at universities. Beyond the focus on tests and college admission, students at BEAM gain invaluable knowledge, participation, social interaction, communication and critical thinking skills. Currently, 85 of BEAM’s GED graduates are studying at various universities. 16 of BEAM’s Higher Education Program students graduated from CMU, Rangsit, Ramkhamhaeng, Assumption and Payap University in 2017 and there will be more students will be graduating in the end of 2017.

New GEDsystem: A new GED exam curriculum has been introduced for the 2017-2018 academic year. This is in response to the administering of the GED 2014 test series at GED testing centers internationally. The new GED system will have four subject tests: Reading Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, and Science. The online exam will now include more interactive features when selecting answers; hence, we will provide compressive computer training for our students. A smaller class of 21 GED students was purposely selected because the GED 2014 series is a more rigorous exam than the prior 2002 GED test series. We plan to work closely with other GED testing centers and schools in Thailand to ensure proper support and guidance in assisting our teachers in instructing the 2014 GED curriculum.

4 GED Students from CDC:


My name is Khin Tyal Win. I am 17 years old. I am from Myanmar, Karenstate. I have five members in my family. I studied in Mae Sot migrant schools for over seven years. These schools are KweKa Baung, Karen national high school, and (C.D.C) Children's Development Centre. I studied in KweKa Baung school for five years and at the (C.D.C) Children's Development Centre for two years. I completed Grade-11 in C.D.C school and participated in the Youth Leadership training for two yearsat Rays of Youth. There, I shared my experience and knowledge to migrant schools and migrant communities. This year, I am studying in the GED Program at BEAMEducation Foundation. I am trying my best to pass the GED. I would like to get GED certificate because Iwant to attend university next year and continue my higher education. Iwant to improve my knowledge eand gain new experiences.Ultimately, I would like to help my community and                 migrant peoples by improving their education, life experiences, and healthcare.

My name is Novelyn. I am a graduate from a refugee camp in Mae Sot Tak province. However, my high school certificate is illegal and there was a lack of opportunity to continue my education. That is why I chose to attend BEAM’s GED Program. I want to pass the GED exam and attend university. The GED certificate is very useful for my further education and it will give me more of a chance to continue my higher education.

My name is Saw Htoo Plo. I am twenty years old. I’m from Taung Oo, Karen State. I have five members in my family and they are now living in Mae Sod. I have one brother and one sister.  Before I came to Mae Sod,I livedand grew up in Mae La Camp. I spent most of my life time in the camp, over 10 years. Sometimes, I feel bored in the camp because I do not want my life to end there; I want to go further and further to improve my sight, experiences, and to accomplish my dreams. Later, I moved to Mae Sod and I studied at Has Thoo Lei School for one year. After that, I got the chance to come to BEAM. Now I study full time at BEAM Education Foundation. I am very happy that I have theopportunity to study in the GED program in BEAM. After the GED, I want to continue to university and fulfill my dreams. Actually, my dream is to become a good nurse because I want to help my people who are weak or sick, and take care of them. It is my biggest dream in life. To fulfill my dream, I pray to God to give me strength to study and pass the exam.


My name is Myo Sandar Lwin.I am 18 years old.I was born in Myanmar,but raised in a border immigrant community in Mae Sot,Thailand.After spending most of my youth in Mae Sot and completing migrant high school there,I decided to study in the GED program at BEAM. I came here because I want more opportunities to continue my studies. While learning at BEAM, I can improve my English and social skills. I am exploring various education scopes to join university. I want to acquire more knowledge and improve my abilities because I want to help my community get to a better situation.

BEAM portion written by Wai Phyo Aung

Abundant Blessings, 

Jerry Nelson

Sunday, March 09, 2014

The Burma Study Center is Busy!

Today, Sunday March 9, 2014 is Global Day of Prayer for Burma.  Yesterday, I picked up a beautiful 24 page booklet which was prepared largely by the Free Burma Rangers.  I don’t normally mention publications I find at the Burma Study Center, but this one is exceptional.  It contains much information, presented in factual yet hopeful light.  Your electronic copy is waiting for you at www.prayforburma.org

Of course, one of the main purposes for the Burma Study Center is to serve as a library of information related to Burma and the many people who are affected by the continuing political / military situation inside the country and along the borders.  The facility is available for research by academics, journalists and really anyone genuinely interested in learning.  They have several books available for checkout and many others which can be read on site.  A collection of lending DVD’s is also available.  Language classes taught at the center offer migrant an opportunity to improve their life skills.  The center is always buzzing with activities.

The Burma Study Center coordinates and sponsors many interesting and timely events.  Today there is a daylong event at Chiang Mai University.  Happily the event was well publicized in the Chiang Mai area. 
Although the posting is too late for most, I’ll include it:

Sunday, March 9: "The 'New Myanmar?: Reforms, Ethnic Groups, and Ceasefires" A full-day of lectures, presentations, and discussions exploring Burma's transition. Presentations will include an overview of changes in Burma since 2010 by Garrett Kostin (Burma Study Center), "Rohingya in Transit: Human Trafficking and Statelessness" by Ekraj Sabu (Asian Muslim Action Network), "Dignity Amidst the Rubbish" by photojournalist Jeffrey Warner, "Burma's Transition: Prospects for Peace and National Reconciliation" by Alex James (Burma Partnership), a screening of "Guns, Briefcases, and Inequality: The Neglected War in Kachin State", two photography exhibitions, and more. All presentations will be in English. Free and open to the public. 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at CMU's Faculty of Humanities, 8th Floor. 
_________________________________________________________________________________



Thursday, March 13: "Understanding Thailand's Political Stalemate: Causes, Prospects, and Meanings" a lecture by Dr. Paul Chambers, followed by discussion/Q&A, organized by Burma Study Center and Chiang Mai University. Intended for an international audience, Dr. Chambers will present on the background, primary stakeholders, different factions, and fundamental issues surrounding the current political crisis in Thailand, including a discussion of the implications prolonged instability in Thailand could have for Burma and Thai-Burma relations. Free and open to the public (presentation in English). 2–4 p.m. at CMU's Faculty of Social Sciences, Lecture Hall 4107. More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/866162156732787/


___________________________________________________________


Thursday, March 20: "Aung San Suu Kyi: The Face of Burma's Resistance" Join Aung Zaw, founder of The Irrawaddy news organization and winner of numerous international journalism awards, for a presentation of his new book The Face of Resistance: Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma's Fight for Freedom, including an evaluation of the democracy icon's legacy, credibility, and potential. The author will also discuss issues currently affecting Burma during this unprecedented time in its history, including prospects for next year's national elections. Free and open to the public (presentation in English). 2–4 p.m. at CMU's Faculty of Social Sciences, Lecture Hall 4107.

___________________________________________________________




Thursday, March 27: "Dignity Amidst the Rubbish" book launch, presentation, and discussion with author Jeffrey Warner. Dignity Amidst the Rubbish is a new book of powerful images and text depicting the daily lives of members of a migrant community from Burma living and working on a rubbish dump in Mae Sot, Thailand. Join the author for a discussion of his work, including a presentation by members of Compasio Relief & Development about what is currently being done to assist the refugees. Books will be available for purchase with all proceeds supporting projects for migrants and refugees from Burma living in Thailand. Free and open to the public. 2–4 p.m.at CMU's Faculty of Social Sciences, Lecture Hall 4107.

Friday, March 28: "Dignity Amidst the Rubbish" book launch, presentation, and discussion with author Jeffrey Warner. Dignity Amidst the Rubbish is a new book of powerful images and text depicting the daily lives of members of a migrant community from Burma living and working on a rubbish dump in Mae Sot, Thailand. Join the author for a discussion of his work, including a presentation by members of Compasio Relief & Development about what is currently being done to assist the refugees. Books will be available for purchase with all proceeds supporting projects for migrants and refugees from Burma living in Thailand. Free and open to the public. 7 p.m. at Documentary Arts Asia, 12/7 Wualai Road, Soi 3.

Friday, April 4: "Dignity Amidst the Rubbish" book launch, presentation, and discussion with author Jeffrey Warner. Dignity Amidst the Rubbish is a new book of powerful images and text depicting the daily lives of members of a migrant community from Burma living and working on a rubbish dump in Mae Sot, Thailand. Join the author for a discussion of his work, including a presentation by members of Compasio Relief & Development about what is currently being done to assist the refugees. Books will be available for purchase with all proceeds supporting projects for migrants and refugees from Burma living in Thailand. Free and open to the public. 6:30 p.m. at Borderline Gallery, Mae Sot, Tak, Thailand.

Saturday, April 5: "Dignity Amidst the Rubbish" book launch, presentation, and discussion with author Jeffrey Warner. Dignity Amidst the Rubbish is a new book of powerful images and text depicting the daily lives of members of a migrant community from Burma living and working on a rubbish dump in Mae Sot, Thailand. Join the author for a discussion of his work, including a presentation by members of Compasio Relief & Development about what is currently being done to assist the refugees. Books will be available for purchase with all proceeds supporting projects for migrants and refugees from Burma living in Thailand. Free and open to the public. 6:30 p.m. at Wadee Restaurant , Mae Sot, Tak, Thailand.


Yes there are several  book launch events for “Dignity Amidst the Rubbish”.  I have seen the mock-ups and look forward to having my own copy soon.  If you can’t make one of the events copies will soon be available for purchase at the Burma Study Center, Chiang Mai.

Abundant Blessings,

Jerry


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Umbilical Hernia Repair - Chapter 1 - The Happy Beginning

This story started 10 years ago, give or take.  I was in Tampa Florida and managed to tear my stomach wall at the Umbilical area creating a very small hernia.  Over the years I ignored it, was told my doctors it wasn't important and that I could repair it, or not.  On a couple of different occasions I managed to strain myself in such a way as to increase the rip.  The last time I did managed to increase the tear was just three weeks before the surgery had been scheduled.  The last tear hurt and quite frightened me, but the surgery was already scheduled so I didn't panic.  Looking back, I really should have had this repaired before I moved to Thailand.  I had opportunities and access to military hospitals in both El Paso and San Diego.  It's so easy to look back and see what we should have done, isn't it?

On 21 June 2013, I received a complete physical at Rajavej Chiang Mai Hospital.  Everything was fine except that my platelet count was very low at 31,000.  When I went to review the results with the doctor I was left with the impression that it wasn't a critical thing; that in all likely hood it had been caused by some infection, or perhaps a case of dengue fever I had some time before.  He prescribed a regiment of anti-biotic and had me come back a couple weeks later.  On the 2nd test the platelet count was a bit better but still low.  The doctor was not at all concerned about the results.  Foolishly I took his lead and promptly forgot about the matter.  Today, I don't blame him, I blame myself for being apathetic about something as important as my health!  Please, gentle reader, be smart, understand the results of you medical tests, stay out of denial and don't be afraid to ask questions.  The real issues here are your health, quality of life and life itself your life!

A month ago, give or take a few days, I made an appointment for a consult to get my hernia repaired.  My surgeon is a Doctor Ekachai Paiboonworachat.  He's great!  His name fails miserably in my spell checker so from here till the end of this article let's just call him Doctor P.

Yesterday, I checked into Chiang Mai Ram Hospital in Chiang Mai, to have the umbilical hernia repaired, finally!   I'll talk about the comparative levels of care in the final chapter.  For now let me say that I went to Chiang Mai Ram primarily because they have an attractive relationship with my insurance provider,  Tri-Care for life.  The level of care I received, the professionalism, the compassion, and even the ambience is far above all the other Chiang Mai options.  More on all of this in the final chapter.  Maybe I'll call it "Lessons I learned  - Hope they are useful"

Pre-op included blood work, and Electrocardiogram and a chest x-ray.  Every thing was fine except for one thing.  Doctor P. came to my room a half hour before we were scheduled in the operating room and told me the surgery was being cancelled because my platelet count was a mere 38,000.   He went on to explain that normal would be between 150,000 and 400,000.  Platelet levels as low as mine put a surgical patient at risk because of the bloods inability to coagulate.  In other words incisions would be very slow to heal creating several dangers.  The good doctor took his time and explained all of this to me and then told me he was turning me over to the Hematologist , Doctor Tamatorn Thamprasit.  Again, for simplicity, I'll refer to him as Doctor T.

Sure enough, Doctor T. came by an hour later, introduced himself, asked a battery of questions, answered the ones I could think to ask and prescribed extensive blood work.  Soon after, a couple of nurses came by and drew a large vial of blood.  A couple of hours later Doctor T. returned to let me know that my liver, kidney and all such were fine, and that I have no infectious disease.  However, my platelet count had dropped from 38,000 to 31,000.  There is no obvious reason why the platelets are being killed off like soldiers serving under an incompetent general.  Maybe the problem is the bone marrow is not producing platelets in normal abundance.  Doctor T. told me to stay overnight and in the morning he would take some bone marrow and perhaps do a biopsy. 

Early this morning both Doctor P. and Doctor T. came to see me.  As they were asking about my situation and my spirits, I was really impressed with there true compassion.  These gentlemen are really great people;  I truly like them both.   Doctor P. made sure I understood there would be no elective surgery until the platelet mystery was solved and the solution a success.  Doctor T. promised he would come back and do the bone marrow aspiration in another hour. 

An hour later he returned and tried the aspiration at the base of my spine.   That didn't go well, not sure why.  I can tell you the local hurt like hell.  Doctor T. quickly changed his mind and did the procedure at the sternum.  That's wasn't too bad at all; more painful that typing on my Nexus 7, but not much. Those interested in details about these procedures are invited to google "Bone Marrow Aspiration" .  I will tell you that as I write this, perhaps 11 hours after the procedure, I've had no pain from this procedure since the moment it was over.

Doctor T. came back a couple hours later and reported he had found nothing abnormal in my bone marrow.  He did say he was sending off for a couple of lab tests, but he suspected they would be negative as well.   So there is almost certainly  nothing wrong in my bone marrow that is preventing the production of platelets and there is nothing obvious that's killing the little suckers.   I suggested that it might be a result of the dengue fever I had a couple of years ago.  Not at all likely was his response.   It would be easy to slip into denial or even apathy but Doctors Ekachai Paiboonworachat and Taratorn Thomprasit will have none of that nonsense!   Chapter 1 draws to a close as a happy beginning.  I have an appointment with Doctor T. on the 10th of March to discuss the results of the lab tests and to discuss solutions.  The 2nd chapter will be posted after that appointment.   Until the, gentle reader, if you have a medical issue, get it taken care of now.

Abundant Blessings, 

Jerry 



Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lanna Care Net to the Rescue!


Some time ago I became aware of a small organization called Lanna Care Net.  Their basic mission is to help old foreigners who are in trouble in Chiang Mai province.  The vast majority of their clients have a serious medical condition, some at the end of life, and most are without sufficient resources to cover the costs.  I applaud their structure, organization and efforts.  They have an extremely low budget, just simple operating and transportation costs really.  The officers take no compensation.   What they do have is extremely good credibility within the Thai and ex-pat communities.

Lanna Care Net (LCN) is appropriately named.  One of the definitions of Lanna is Northern Thailand.  Care is what they facilitate.  Net is short for network, and that's what they really do the most and the best.   The organization has no paid positions, no company cars, or big offices. The composition is that of compassionate people networking to help those in need.  Their mission is really two fold:  First they provide assistance to aging foreigners who are in trouble, usually people with insufficient financial resources to deal with serious medical conditions.  They lighten the burden of the hosting Thai community by helping their clients understand what is possible within the Thai health care system.  

LCN finds resources, both local and ex-pat, and facilitates their clients interaction.  Notable is another volunteer organization called Cancer Connect, the consulates from various foreign governments especially Great Britain and the United States, Alcoholics Anonymous, various churches and of course most of the health care facilities in the province.
They regularly coordinate with air-lines to facilitate transport of patients as well.

To describe what LCN is about let's look at it three ways, NO, YES, EXAMPLE:

NO:
  • LCN does NOT provide financial assistance.  However, in many instances they can and will assist a client in obtaining emergency financial assistance.
  • LCN does NOT provide health care.  They do advise clients on appropriate nursing and medical care.

YES:
  • Facilitates care through liaison and cooperation
  • Advises clients on their options
  • Trains volunteers
  • Advises and educates the community on how to avoid problems associated with aging.

EXAMPLE:  There are many, this one I know because the man is a dear friend of mine.   Jim has a degenerative condition in his spine, I'm not sure of the exact diagnosis, but I do know that he has had back surgeries in the past.  For several years ago he has been comfortable and physically fit.  He even made the 490 mile Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage  last summer.  Several days ago he found himself with excruciating back pain.  With the help of some friends he was admitted to the Chiang Rai hospital where he languished for a week.  Chiang Rai hospital acknowledged that they did not have the expertise to help him and suggested he go to Chiang Mai University hospital.  The best specialist would be there every Tuesday he was told.  He was also told that the two hospitals were networked.

The next Tuesday morning Jim came down to Chiang Mai by ambulance, arriving about 8:00 a.m.   The hospital had no idea that who he was, or why he had been sent to them.  They had zero communication from Chiang Rai.  Another friend stayed with Jim most of the day while the hospital tried to figure out what to do with him.  I even went and relieved Steve for part of the time.   Finally, after an ordeal that might be good background for a fictional work, he was admitted to the hospital around 5:00 pm.

I called LCN on Wednesday to give them a heads up.  They had already been notified by the hospital that he was there and were on the way to assess his situation.  Thanks to the credibility LCN brought to the case, Jim was able to get an MRI and other needed treatment without having to pre-pay.  On Friday the results of the MRI were known and the orthopedic spinal specialist  saw Jim and presented him with his options, which frankly are very few.  Jim has choices to make.  In the meantime LCN was researching  various options.  

What came to light was the fact that Chiang Mai University Hospital was ill equipped to handle Jim's case.  Not surprising when you learn that his medical condition was so complicated that the Mao Clinic had him as a study case.  His back problems started with a viral infection in his spine. That was over 30 years ago.  His February 2014 MRI pointed multiple problems with his spine.  After a week it was decided the best course of action was to return him to Chiang Rai hospital for physical therapy and work on sending him back to the United States.

Jim is a guy with a big heart and a great attitude.  His friends and family were very supportive.  They marshalled by his bedside to give support where they found themselves often laughing at Jim's humorous stories.  When he was in the orthopedic ward at CMU hospital, he established a goad of making all the other patients smile.  He succeeded!  He even made them laugh, but the "enema story" is best kept for another writing.  The bottom line is that as he laid in a hospital in terrible pain, not speaking the language and being attended by people who had great difficulty understanding the specifics of his condition, he was concerned for the other patients.  I'd go see him and maybe the pain he was suffering was apparent, but the moment he'd see me, especially if I had a camera, he would light up.    He has the best attitude of anyone I've ever seen in a hospital setting.  The great attitude was not enough to keep his problems at bay.  He needed health insurance and a degree of financial solvency.
Jim being visited by Maliwan.
They made each other smile! 
Some friends raised money to defray his medical costs, coordinate transportation and provide conveniences.  In the middle of  fray I noticed the volunteers from LCN working quickly and efficiently to provide suggestions for the best options.  They accomplished several things that simply could not have been done without them:

LCN negotiated with CMU to allow Jim medical testing, including an MRI without pre-payment.  Then on discharge from CMU hospital LCN negotiated a 20% discount.

LCN was instrumental in allowing Jim and has family and friends to understand the medications prescribed, and in convincing the Thai doctors to prescribe appropriate dosages.  They also made sure that Jim knew what meds he had and when he should be taking them.

A wheelchair was provided for his use while he was still in country.

LCN coordinated with the airline, friends and family to make sure that Jim's trip back to the United States was as comfortable as possible. 

Jim at CNX - Wheels up minus 3 hours

The nurse gave me this.  Maybe the bear can help me know it's meaning! 
Frankly, it doubtful that Jim would have been able to get back to the United States to receive the treatment he needs if it hadn't been for the good work of the LCN volunteers.  When I gave LCN a heads up that I would be writing this they asked not to mention their names, just provide the phone number and website.  In keeping with this request, I'll simply say thank you three angles, two in Chiang Mai and one in Chiang Rai.  You have been instrumental in improving the quality of life an reducing the suffering of my dear friend Jim.

Lanna Care Net makes it blatantly clear that they DO NOT want you to be their client.  They don't want anyone to be their client.  The truth is that there are many people here who need or will need their help.  They make suggestions that as an ex-pat getting older in this country, I am taking to heart.  LCN will be happy to advise you on any of these points which include:

  1. Execute an Advanced Health Care Directive.    Do you want someone to guess what you might have wanted if you were not able to communicate?   The Thai doctors will honor these directives and welcome the guidance.
  2. Establish a relationship with a primary care physician.  There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is having some one who knows you who can prescribe pain medications as needed.  -- Jim had not done this! 
  1. Purchase health insurance ( or at least personal injury accident insurance) and put some cash away for emergencies.  Many ex-pats are here because they simply can't afford to live in their home country.  Many live month to month here.  WE need to have health insurance and we need to put away some money for emergencies.  Unless you have health insurance, most hospitals will not begin to treat you without an initial deposit of at least one-half the anticipated amount of your entire bill!  -- Jim was uninsured, without Lanna Care Net's help negotiating with CMU hospital it would have been much worse! 


Lanna Care Net can be contacted at +66 85-709-8801 (085 709 8801) and at www.lannacarenet.org

This was sent by email from Jim's sister 20 February at 5:05 am Bangkok time.

Jimmy arrived on time and safely.  The transition went smoothly.  However, our experience at the hospital emergency room could have been better.  The attending Dr. was reluctant to perform tests or admit him to a room.  He suggested that we go to a facility that had neurosurgeons on staff.  Finally xrays, and bloodwork was done and they have a MRI scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.  They did end up putting him in a room for the night.  Jimmy is exhausted and broke down once.  Things seemed to pick up after I made a call to Hospital Social Services.  I just spoke with her and we are getting together tomorrow to discuss Jim's condition and options for us.  I feel so badly for him!  I am doing research on neuro-specialists in a 100 mile radius.  The xrays revealed extreme degenerative disc disease, but he already knew that.  Hopefully the MRI tells us more and will warrant a longer stay so he can be transferred to a facility where intensive physical therapy can begin to work for him.  Will keep you all posted.  Love.  Joy

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Loi Krathong and Yi Peng festivals are now

Loi Krathong was amazing!  This is the annual Thai festival where people make or buy krathong and float them in the river.  It symbolizes letting go of the past and welcoming the future.  Today I may get to the river and get some photo's of Krathong on the water.


Young Girl (her father behind her) selling Krathong 50 baht, fair price
The festival also coincides with Yi Peng, the Lanna or Northern Thai festival of sending lanterns into the sky. Hopefully we'll get some shots of laterns being launched this evening.   Those not familiar who want to read a bit are invited to the Wikipedia definition.

Yesterday I went to Tae Pae gate to see the displays from different countries for Yi Peng.   Then on to Suan Baak Had (the park near my home).   Enjoy the photo’s

Thailand Display at Tae Pae Gate

Singapore Display at Tae Pae Gate

Asean Display at Tae Pae Gate

Oh My!  We have a dragon in the lake at the park! 

Maliwan purchased two kratong made from some sort of bread.  We prepared them by inserting a lock of our hair, a coin, a candle and incense.   The incense is meant to connect with the spirits, the candle to light the way, the coin represents tamboon and the lock of hair is for identification.   We took the kratongs to the lake in the park, very near my favorite dragon.  The idea is to respect (pray to) the water asking for forgiveness of our discretion and asking for guidance for the coming year.      I just love this culture.



Jerry

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Autism in Northern Thailand

Gentle Reader,

Last minute article addition:   I only have 4 tickets left for the Bollywood Masala Charity Event.  Please contact me to reserve yours today!  I will be turning in my tickets and money on Monday.  If you need more than 4 contact Frank directly.  (See bottom of this article for details).

Autism is a reality in Chiang Mai as it is throughout the world. One expert report says that there are at least 200,000 autistic children in the Kingdom.    Here children severely effected with this malady might end up at the Northern Thailand School for children with disabilities.  They have some 30 students, many autistic, some with down syndrome and, if I understand correctly one or two, who suffer from severe Attention Defecate Disorder.  The school is a foundation under Royal patronage.
 
The Northern Thailand Center for Education of Disable Children
The school sponsors a small NGO called Chiang Mai Skill center which is located less than a kilometer away from the school.  The founder is Lukas Wyss who provides the autistic children with the opportunity to interact with horses and provide riding therapy and Hippotherapy.  I know very little about this type of work, but what I do know is that the children enjoy it immensely! 
On the buggy and ready to go
At the appointed time Lukas takes a horse drawn carriage from his barn to pick up children at the school.   The children at the school wait anxiously for the horse and carriage.  As soon as it's visible on the road there is a furfur of excitement (Imagine a bunch of kids looking down the road and seeing Santa Clause coming up the lane - that kind of excitement is what I'm talking about)!  The children then enjoy a carriage ride back to the skill center.
 
Horse and buggy plus happy children
At the skill center they use time grooming the horse and then go to a field especially prepared with soft sand where they take turns riding the horse. Each child is given therapy matching his or her needs. 
 
Ride a horse and work on manual dexterity, good plan! 
After the rides are done, the children return to the barn where they enjoy more time with the horses and a refreshing snack.  Finally they take the buggy ride back to the school.

The center has several urgent needs including water and toilets.  You can help!  Attend the Bollywood Masala Event, donate or volunteer.   Please take a look at http://www.skillcenter-chiangmai.com/ for more information.

Are you going to be in Chiang Mai on Friday October 4th?  Would you enjoy an evening of Indian Entertainment and Indian Food while supporting a most worthy cause; autistic children?   Read on.

My friend Frank from Fashion King of Chiang Mai is organizing the evening.  Frank is a guy who always supports others in their charity work. Now is the time to support him and his wife Vinata in their efforts to support the autistic children at the   CM Skill Center.

The Empress hotel will host and they always do a great job.  The cost is only 1,000 baht per ticket.  Of course, larger sponsorships are requested.  See Frank for details or call him at 081-928-4575  or 081-733-5914.  You may also contact me directly at 089-556-4293; I also have tickets to sell

For only 1,000 baht you have the opportunity to help these children and enjoy an
Indian Bazaar atmosphere will be enhanced by live Indian music and dance
performed by professionals from Bangkok.  You will also enjoy a delicious Indian Buffet.  A complimentary drink will be provided on arrival. Door prizes, a silent auction and many stalls Will add to the excitement of the evening. 
Program



6.30 – 7.15 pm. Registration
7.30 pm. Buffet opens

Followed by Music & dance
(Entertainment)

Tickets are available at Fashion King or directly from me.

Abundant Blessings,

Jerry

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bollywood Event to Help Autistic Children

Gentle Reader,

Are you going to be in Chiang Mai on Friday October 4, 2013?  Would you enjoy an evening of Indian Entertainment and Indian Food while supporting a most worthy cause; autistic children?   Read on.

My friend Frank from Fashion King of Chiang Mai is organizing the evening.  Frank is a guy who always supports others in their charity work. Now is the time to support him and his wife Vinata in their efforts to support the autistic children at the   CM Skill Centre and Thanua Withaya School.

The Empress hotel will host and they always do a great job.  The cost is only 1,000 baht per ticket.  Of course, larger sponsorship is requested and needed.  See Frank for details or call him at 081-928-4575  or 081-733-5914.

For only 1,000 baht you have the opportunity to help these children and enjoy an Indian Bazaar atmosphere will be enhanced by live Indian music and dance performed by professionals from Bangkok.  You will also enjoy a delicious Indian Buffet.  A drink or glass of wine will be provided on arrival. Door prizes, a silent auction and many stalls Will add to the excitement of the evening.  

6.30 – 7.15 pm. Registration
7.30 pm. Buffet opens

Followed by Music & dance
(Entertainment)

Tickets are available at Fashion King or directly from me (I'll have a book available by Saturday the 14th of September.

Abundant Blessings,