Today we had to leave the fishing village we were staying in. I think I can speak for everyone in saying that in the two short days we stayed with our host families, we managed to really connect with them. It's interesting because in many of our cases we were not able to verbally communicate due to language differences. We didn't even have a translator in my house. Nevertheless, we were all very sad to leave, and our host families were also very sad. After learning how to make herbal soaps, we packed our things and said our "see you laters" to our new families. Each of us has vowed to stay in touch.
We stopped by a Burmese migrant worker organization on the way home for a presentation and a tour of the medical clinic. The organization was created to help Burmese migrant workers who were not able to access the standards of care in Thailand. These people leave Burma because the living conditions in their own country are terrible. They come over illegally to work in the harshest conditions. These individuals are not able to access health care, and their children are not able to attend school. The organization provides basic healthcare, education, and it gives these individuals a voice.
We also stopped by Bangkok International Hospital in Phuket, where we received a presentation and were given another tour. This hospital was completely Westernized. It was quite a shock for us to see this hospital compared to all of the rural clinics we have been touring. Bangkok International Hospital is a private hospital, so patients need private insurance in order to access treatment there. On the top floor of the hospital, there were presidential suites which looked like five-star hotel rooms. They even have 4 options for pillows and a living area for the families! The suites were for patients who wanted to have a comfortable recovery. The tour guide stated that about 40% of the patients that go to Bangkok International Hospitals are foreigners. Thailand is well known for the medical tourism industry.