Today we visited the Duane Prateep foundation, which was started by a woman named Duane Prateep which gives children living in the slums of Bangkok an opportunity for education. Before getting a tour of the school and foundation itself, we first took a walk through the slums. It was disheartening to see the poor living conditions of the children and families living there, yet at the same time we were welcomed with warm smiles and hellos. As we walked along the narrow pathways lined by boarded sheds and stagnant water I felt helpless. Here were children with no choice of the world they were brought up in and still were being denied the right to go to school because many of them were not born with birth certificates. Afterwards, we met with Duane Prateep herself- what an incredible woman! She explained the foundation to us and the options for sponsoring a child going to the school. Afterward, we were able to ask questions and received her signed book about how she started the foundation. We were able to go to the bookstore and purchase some gifts made by the parents of the slums with the proceeds going to the school.
Our guide let us try another thai favorite, pineapple and "prick-glua" a mix of salt and chili spices. It was delicious!
Later in the day we visited the Red Cross Snake Farm museum and snake show. The Red Cross uses many of the snakes to harvest venom for anti venom solutions for hospitals. If anyone is bitten by a poisonous snake he or she can come to the red cross foundation for the anti venom. The foundation had a museum where several snakes were on display as well as films in English about what kinds of effects certain snake bites have on the body. On the next room there was a mannequin and a demonstration of how to tie a tourniquet for snake bites which of course attracted all of us nursing students!
After the self-led tour through the museum we watched a snake show where the handlers showed us all of the snakes the foundation produces anti venom for. It made my skin crawl watching how fearless the snake handler was as one snake continued to strike his direction, missing him within inches every time. I think I would much rather risk my life in the emergency room with a swinging patient than an angry snake any day!