Bringing Closure to Nakornping Hospital

Trip Start Jan 04, 2011
Trip End Jan 28, 2011

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Today is going to be a really busy day. We woke up early today for the Monks' visit. They were to arrive at 7 am; however, when we arrived for the ceremony we were told they would not be here until 7:45 so, we ate breakfast first. Breakfast consisted of a creamy corn soup, cream of mushroom soup with chicken, ham, vegetables and fruit. We also had the old standby, cereal and toast. Following breakfast we attended the Alms giving for the Monks. Nine Monks were present. They were seated at the front of the gathering.Those in attendance lined themselves in rows according to societal rank. The teachers and MC students were in the first row, followed by the 4th,3rd, 2nd and 1st year students. In Thai culture when approaching a Monk, you must keep yourself lower than the Monk.So, everyone got into position by walking on their knees and then everyone sat in a kneeling position or Thai style. The Thai style position is when you are sitting with your knees to the side and your feet behind you. This is not a very comfortable position for Americans. We have to reposition ourselves often. I am not surprised that the #1 orthopedic problem in Thailand has to do with knees. Pi Jip is always worried about me. She knows I have difficulty with this position and when possible, offers me a stool to sit on. She is so gracious. There is a lot of chanting/sayings that are exchanged between the Monks and the worshipers. At one point the director and deputy directors take a brass bottle and pour water into a brass bowl. This is done after the Monks offered their blessings to the people. This symbolizes the pouring out of goodness from the Monk to the worshipers and then to those they interact with. The water is then poured into the soil to be absorbed. Following the ceremony we lined up on our knees and the Monks walked down the row collecting the food gifts we had prepared the night before.  When placing the food in the bowls we must remember not to touch the Monk and not to touch the bowl. No female is to ever touch a Monk.

After the ceremony the students, Pi Jip and I went to the Nakornping Hospital to extend our appreciation and thanks for opening their ward to us for our clinical experience. Each unit was given a luggage or large container filled with toothpaste, soap, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, combs, etc. We started this tradition last year as we discovered that the hospital does not supply these items to the patients.Remember they have social medicine. Health care for all. It is the responsibility of the patient or their family to supply these items. There are so many poor people that do without. So, the nursing staff takes these items and creates an "admission packet" for the very poor patients. They are so appreciative of our small donation. We also gave the head nurses a MC pen and key chain. The students acknowledged the work of the Ajons by giving them a thank you card and a pashmire scarf. During this visit we met, for the first time, the Dean of Nursing (our VP of Nursing). She and another nurse had just returned from a 10 day trip to India. She was very excited to meet us and welcomed us back. After we gave our “thank you”, Pi Jip and I returned back to BCNC.  The students continued their visit as they visited the emergency department, ICU, Pediatric ICU, and NICU.

Upon our return to campus, Pi Jip recieved guests for the Happy New Year. Nong Maew and I made a trip to the market as I was responsible for preparing the evening meal. I am continually amazed at all of the restaurants, food vendors, and markets that are in Chiang Mai. Food is so cheap here as long as it is not imported. A head of cabbage was 65 cents. We were able to find everything we needed.

We returned back to the college in time to join the students for lunch. Pi Jip’s husband, Kuhn Anan, joined us for lunch. He brought us Sum Tum, pork, chicken, and a bamboo dish. Kuhn Anan loves food and knows the BEST places. He takes great pride in this. So, everything he has recommended to us has been exceptional and today was no different. The food was amazing but very hot. I do not know how much water I consumed today but it was a lot.

After lunch we joined with the BCNC students for “Welcome Day”. This day we exchanged cultures through dance, music and games. The first year students decorated the stage this year. It was magnificent. They had a Thai hand shaking an American hand. They had our theme “Two Nations One Purpose” as part of the display. They had created a Thai nursing student and an American Nursing student with doves and symbols of love. On the side panels was a person dressed in the Thai traditional dress and a “Cinderella” type girl. Both of these people were holding their country flag. All of the decorations were handmade, painted or drawn. They did such a wonderful job. As usual,everything was bright colored and floral. This year BCNC demonstrated what a traditional Thai wedding would be like. They found out that one of my students will be getting married this summer so they thought we might be interested in this. Aj Nim is encouraging our students to return to Thailand in the future for their wedding (performed on the back of an elephant) and honeymoon (many people have offered their homes free of charge). The American students found the elephant wedding quite humorous. This is not the traditional Thai way, just one of the many options available. I guess it is like an America wedding in the sky (while sky diving) or under water (while scuba diving), The American students taught the group the“Electric Slide”. They really enjoyed this. The BCNC students are so proud of themselves when they can master something American.

Following the “Welcome” program, it was time for our American Dinner. Willie, a dear friend and the BCNC IT staff, had American pop music playing in the background. We had approximately 50 people but could have easily fed 100. Those in attendance included faculty, staff, Thai buddies and the MC group. Tonight’s menu consisted of Fried chicken wings and legs,macaroni and cheese, baked beans, cole slaw, and brownie sundaes. It seemed to be a hit. I know the MC students really enjoyed it. I want to thank all of the BCNC staff who assisted me in preparing tonight’s meal. It went very smoothly and did not seem to be too much of a burden on any one in particular. Khob Kuhn mak kah.

By 9 pm I was getting tired so I headed to bed. The students were going strong. The Thai buddies and the American students continued exchanging culture as well as conversation. They were involved in gaming,dancing, and singing. One group of students was having a competition on which MC student could write the best Thai alphabet. If you have not seen the Thai alphabet this is quite a challenge. The MC students were doing an amazing job. It was hard for me to select the best.

One new observation I made this year is the college is no longer wearing their yellow BCNC shirts. In Thailand there is a color assigned to each day of the week. You will find the Thai people chose their daily outfits by this color: Sunday is red, Monday is yellow, Tuesday is pink, Wednesday is green, Thursday is orange, Friday is blue and Saturday is purple. I asked why this year they are no longer wearing their yellow BCNC shirts on Monday and the reply was, “Yellow is the King’s color so therefore it has a political statement. Red has become the color for those who are challenging the Thai govt and now has a political significance. So, to be safe, BCNC no longer wears these two colors. However today every one kept to the Thursday color, orange. I was so nice to see everyone in orange.
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