- Susan Brown
First Sunday in Thailand
“He have malaria,” Brother Anond announced.
Janice Lee shone her flashlight into the little boy’s chocolate brown eyes and nodded.
“One of the symptoms of malaria is that the pupils are uneven,” she told me. “See the difference?”
“Has he been treated for malaria before?” she asked Anond.
He relayed the question in Lahu to the boy’s young father. He shook his head.
“Never treated,” he replied.
She encouraged the father to take the child to a doctor and rooted around in the suitcase of medicines for some temporary relief for the child.
“Will he go take the child to the doctor?” I asked.
“No,” Anond said. “Probably not. No money.”
I felt helpless as I watched the little guy leave. But we had done all we could do — and the next person was already in the chair waiting for Sister Janice or Brother Ricky Cash to help with their ailments.
It was our first Sunday in Thailand. Paul and I woke stupidly early, as we always do when we arrive in Thailand. We were up by 3 a.m., which is nice. We are always dead by 6:30 p.m., which is not so nice.
The van arrived later in the morning to take us to Na Hui, the village closest to the children’s home, and the church which had been embroiled in the property dispute. Bro. Bill Lee, Sister Janice, their daughter, April and grandson Reid are here, as well as Bro. Ricky Cash. To accommodate the added numbers, Bro. Anond rented a van. We climbed aboard and were soon on the bumpy road to Na Hui.
The village is small and consists of several shambling bamboo huts.We arrived early, so the guys went to look at the well. Water is a problem here because there is not sufficient electricity to run the pump.
“Aw bon eu jah!!” the excited greeting startled me and I turned to be enthusiastically hugged by my diminutive Lahu friend, Na Mi Se. Ma Ta was right behind her with smiles and cries of welcome. Many other of my friends from Bible study were there, too. I was so glad to see them and my heart was warmed by their loving welcome.
Bro. Lee preached an encouraging message from Philippians 4:15-19, while the people listened attentively. Then we had lunch. The men cleared the chairs from the church building while the ladies cooked their best food for us. They carried in tables and loaded them down with rice, fruit, and chicken dishes. They won’t eat with us, but stand and watch while we eat.
Then it was time to “do medicine.” Bro. Ricky and Sister Janice set up shop in the church and the people lined up outside. They came in by twos and Bro Anond alternated translating for both of our volunteers.
The tribal people rarely get any medical care except when volunteers come to help. There are hospitals, and medical care is free — for citizens. If they don’t have an ID card, they have to pay. The cost is moderate by U.S. standards, but far above what these poor people can afford.
So they come with gratefulness to receive the help our team gives. Sister Janice and Bro. Ricky have been quietly serving in this way for many years.
Many have sore throats and ear infections. Others have UTI’s or parasites. Vitamins are handed out, as are analgesics for pain and antibiotics for infections. They leave, holding on to their medicines with hope.
There are so many sick people and so little time to help them. The day before Sister Janice and Bro. Ricky had taught a class to representatives from several villages. They learned how to recognize when a child is dehydrated and how to make their own rehydrating liquid, among other things. That one bit of knowledge could save the lives of many babies in remote villages.
Home again to our magnificent two-room apartment. I planned to continue working on cleaning and organizing while Paul and the others went to negotiate on the truck, but instead showered and fell asleep.
Paul came in exhausted later that evening. The negotiations for the Ford truck fell through as the dealer refused to lower the price. They will return to the Nissan dealership and try there. Paul actually prefers the smaller Nissan, anyway. Please continue to pray that we get exactly the right truck.
We went to bed before 7 p.m. again — so were up by midnight. We are going to have to get sorted out soon!
Now we are on our way to Chiang Mai to pick up the others. Today we are traveling north to Chiang Rai where Janice and Ricky will do medicine. Paul and I put pills in bags and help any way we can. Bro. Lee is more familiar with the medicines and awaits instructions and hands out the meds.
We will spend the night in Chiang Rai and tomorrow will meet with the men who have asked us to come to start another Bible school in their area. Please pray for blessings, safety, and direction on this trip. And now I have to hurry and post this!
Blessings from Thailand,