We were privileged to visit a Hmong new year festival located about one hour outside of Chiang Mai city. Seeing the beautiful traditional clothing and its adaptations by the younger generation was especially fun!
This morning we visited TRAFCORD (www.trafcord.org), an NGO with a vision to “function as a network center providing a comprehensive range of services regarding human trafficking solutions in Northern Thailand with a professional and effective operation”. TRAFCORD’s project manager, Ms. Duean, gave us an overview of their work with and on behalf of victims – reporting, investigating, protecting, rehabilitating, reintegrating, and preventing. She highlighted the links between human trafficking, immigration and deep poverty (and resulting debt bondage(), noting how those factors intertwine in this part of Thailand, which borders on Burma/Myanmar, Laos, and south China.
Is this really happening? Even after being here almost a week, I still have to remind myself that I am in Thailand. This is unlike anything I have ever done or experienced and I am loving every minute of it. Thailand has so much to offer and I am just taking it all in. We have been busy from day one doing so many exciting things. I particularly enjoyed going to the Chiang Mai University Faculty of Nursing. We learned about the HIV and AIDS in Thailand. Thailand does a great job of educating people in a way that people can relate to and is easy to do in people’s daily lives.
Over the weekend, I was able to cross some things off of my bucket list. This included elephant riding and zip lining! Both things in which I have been wanting to do for a long time, and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to do them in than Thailand. The scenery is breath taking. I took many pictures, but they won’t do justice compared to the real scene. I honestly couldn’t have thought of a better way to bring in the new year.
Some culture aspects that I have observed is the way Thais always greet you with a smile. They are so friendly and truly care about others. On the other hand, I get very nervous when I ride in a car or a bus because the driving here is very crazy. People swerve in and out of lanes, drive fast, and drive so close to one another, yet there seems to be very few accidents.
Other than the scary driving, I am loving the culture and temperature here in Thailand. I am very excited for what the next two weeks will bring!