December 9, 2011

Hi to Everyone,

Here is a summary of the work done since I got back to Mae Sot on November 29th. I hit the ground running, and it has been a busier few weeks than normal but very productive.

After arriving on Tuesday, I was anxious to get over to the dump as there were things I hadn’t been able to do before leaving. Fortunately, when I got there all seemed well. I was also anxious to scope out a site for the new water tank. On Thursday, we got all the headmen together in a group to discuss the best placement for the tank. Once this was decided, the ground needed to be cleared and leveled to make a flat surface for the new base. On Friday, the necessary materials for completing the tank installation (tanks, blocks, etc.) were sourced.

Building the base

Building the base for the water tank


Later on Friday evening I was taken to see a man who was very sick. I was unable to anything at that time and intended to return on Saturday to see what we could do. There was an early morning call on Saturday saying that the man was now seriously ill, so I picked him up from the dump and took him to the clinic with a suspected stroke.

The man's family carrying him to the truck

The man’s family carrying him to the truck

On Sunday 4th December, at 5:00am, I got another call to say that someone else was very sick, so I rushed back to the dump. There I found a woman in her late thirties, in bad shape who had apparently performed an abortion on herself – a major problem.

Monday saw completion of the sourcing of material for the tank.The actual placing of the tank was put on hold until the 7th December. As I have said before, nothing goes according to plan, but it does get done in the end.

On 7th December, I returned to the clinic to pick up the two people that had been taken there previously. The man with the suspected stroke looked much better and was mobile. It is still unclear exactly what is wrong with him, possibly meningitis. The woman did not look that good, but she returned to the dump and seems to be doing ok. After this I picked up the blocks for the water tank base and got it in place, then went to pick up the water tank. I made arrangements for the delivery of the water. The tank was in place and filled the next day. A very good day for me: the community was convinced I had saved the man’s life and they got clean water on the same day.


The phone system for emergency contact seems to be working well. On that morning at 5 o’clock I got a call, which was a little bit hazy but clearly someone very sick. When I got to the pick up point I found myself surrounded by 25 very concerned faces and a woman obviously in a lot of pain and heavily pregnant. I took her straight to the clinic where an hour and a half later she had a baby boy!

Newborn boy and father.

Newborn boy and father.

The day before, I had arranged to pick up several people to take to the clinic, so I returned to the dump to pick up a monk who needed eye glasses, a little boy who was having trouble urinating, and a sixteen year old girl with ‘girl problems.’  After a couple of hours, I went back to the clinic to collect them all to take back to the dump. The monk, who has relatives in the dump, had his glasses. This fellow is one of many who specifically go to the dump because they know they can get help there. The young girl seemed fine. We were waiting for the little boy when my interpreter came out to tell me that the boy was in surgery. I went into the surgery just in time to see him being circumcised (something I could have done without). Twenty minutes later he was in the truck with the others and we were heading back to the dump.

The monk in need of glasses.

The monk in need of glasses.

Friday 9th December – I went back to the dump in the morning to check up on the people who had been to the clinic, all of whom seemed ok. Arrangements were made to move one of the original water tanks to a new location. I took in some special food for the man with the suspected meningitis to improve his diet and give him a fighting chance of recovery. The woman who is unable to feed her baby was given some more formula and there were four cases of basic first aid provided for infected feet and hands.

Regarding yellow water filters/tanks that were supposed to be supplied by Best Friend’s Library:  I took time out of each day to ask everyone,  including those at the nearby school, if they have seen yellow (or any other color) water filters/tanks. No one has seen them. There is no doubt in my mind that these tanks were never brought to the garbage dump.

This is a basic summary of what has been going on and I have not included everything. But as you can see, it has been a heck of a week and a half. The pressing issue at the moment is the fourteen families that are living in particularly harsh conditions. There are a number of young girls with babies whose husbands have run away. They have many problems, so this coming week I will try to figure out the best way to help. In general, there are also many more children working now that many of the men have disappeared.

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