On 27th September we visited two villages to provide medical assistance and conduct other community development work. Whilst we took twelve volunteers to Bang Saphan, we were able to take a further eight to Baan Pa La U, including a doctor and supporting medical staff.

Jungle Aid volunteers

On the way to Pa La U we picked up our translator at the Home for Students, where the doctor, Tass, treated the first patient of the day – a small child with a chronic chest infection. After travelling for another hour we arrived at Pa La U where over fifty people were waiting for us. Our medical team saw 41 patients in total, many of who were mothers, infants and elderly people who have no other access to health care.

As well as treating skin, chest and stomach infections there were several injuries that required attention. One ten-year-old girl had slipped on rocks in the river whilst gathering water the morning we arrived and had sustained a major gash on her chin. The medical staff were able to deal with it to prevent infection and reduce the likelihood of visible scarring.

Jungle Aid volunteers

As well as running the medical clinic, our volunteers also progressed other community development projects that are underway. We evaluated the water pumping system that was installed in June to ensure that it was still operating effectively and was being maintained. The system requires no power since it fills a large tank in the centre of the village using only pressure from the height difference in water at two places on the nearby river.

We trained one local person to clean the water intake and the pump and make sure that the pipe was correctly positioned so that water would continue to flow freely. Several villagers commented that the pumping system was very useful since it gave much easier access to clean water. They suggested that another system be installed on the opposite bank to help people there too. As a result we surveyed the site and made plans to install a second system on a future trip.

We also assessed how the village could use pumped water to irrigate a vegetable garden, which could supplement and improve the diets of the community. Currently small vegetable plots are used for part of the year but these dry out when there is no rain. With the involvement of the Pa La U villagers, the development of a community vegetable garden is likely to be an exciting project for the future.

Before we left Pa La U, we distributed clothes, shoes, toys, learning materials and mosquito nets. Colette and Nish, who had brought most of the items from a ‘clothes drive’ at their school in Bangkok, took the lead in handing out items to the many families in need. Though Nish’s own shoes were accidentally given out in the excitement, he managed to track them down and retrieve them to much hilarity.

Again it was a fantastic day thanks to our amazing volunteers and incredible donors.

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