The first few days were miserable as we made our way to Bangkok. The long plane ride was unbearable since I was squished in the middle with the constant need to use the toilet. Right after the awful 13+ hours flight from Dallas to Bangkok, I was ready to sleep on a proper bed. The next day started off with a bang as we participated in a Child Safe workshop. This workshop discussed many things about children and human trafficking. I’m glad that this was the first session that we attended since arriving in Thailand. I’ve learn many things that was intriguing and eye-opening to me. The message was to not give money to begging children, but to report to the Child Safe hotline in order to help the child. This will help break the cycle of poverty. The Child Safe organization will provide opportunities to help the children gain sustainable resources for themselves and their families. I came to Thailand with a mindset that the children needs help in this third-world country. So if I saw a begging child on the streets, I would not hesitate to give them money. I didn’t realize how close I was to contributing to endless cycle of poverty. I’m sure many tourist gives money with good intentions, but they’re not realizing that they’re doing more harm than good. Child Safe is doing their best to raise awareness of child in poverty and trafficking.
Also, as a tourist, don’t go visit a orphanage because they’re not a tourist attraction! After learning that orphanages is actually considered an attraction, I am appalled. If I was planning a vacation, I would want to visit famous sites, the beach, etc. The orphanage would not be on my list of things to do. I was also not aware that children in the orphanage were actually not orphans but had at least one living parent. These children don’t belong in the orphanages. However, due to the demand in children entertain, children trafficking continues to exist. Sometimes, children are exchanged for a bag of rice or given up because their families can no longer support them. There’s still a long way to go with this situation, but I’m proud to say that I’ve been certified to identify children in these cases.
The rest of the week was filled with many activities and we got to interact with many of the local people. From visiting the local market to riding wooden go-karts, the first week in Thailand has been amazing and I look forward to many more adventures in Thailand. I’m thankful to have this moment to reflect on my time here in Thailand. It’s a lot to take-in and I will try my best to be in the present.