Update from Chiang Mai Thailand

Sawatdee, Ka!  We’re having a bit of trouble accessing the blog, so things may appear here sporadically.  However, we decided to go public with our group’s Facebook site, so you can also find pictures and updates at  https://www.facebook.com/groups/thai2012/
We’ve had a great couple of days in Chiang Mai.  Day 1 was learning how to cook Thai food – four dishes including Tom Yum Kung (Hot and Sour Prawn Soup), Gang Keow Wan (Green Curry), Kanom Gluay (Steamed Banana Cake), and Pad Thai (self explanatory!).
In the afternoon we participated in a monk chat at the Buddhist University Lanna campus.  Monk Sam, as he asked us to call him, shared about his life as a monk and a bit about Buddhism.  I will try to post a picture or two after finishing this!
Yesterday we had two excellent lectures.  The first was at SuanPrung Psychiatric Hospital where two doctors explained the mental health care system in Thailand and some of the challenges of getting past the stigma of mental illness in this culture.  In the afternoon we visited Chiang Mai University Faculty of Nursing and learned about the surveillance system for tracking HIV and AIDS in Thailand.  This country is a global leader in HIV-AIDS tracking, treatment and prevention.  We learned that the nursing faculty at CMU has other connections to the University of Minnesota through the One Health project.
Today the students are off to ride elephants, visit a waterfall, and do water rafting.  Dr. Jill and I are catching up on work and will explore the city this afternoon on our “down” day.  Tonight is New Year’s Eve – we’ll let you know how we celebrated.  In the meantime, Sawatdee, Bee Mai- or Happy New Year!

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