The September trip to Baan Pa La U was the first time Jungle Aid has spent three consecutive days on a single visit to a village. There was a lot to be done…..

The village has 30 houses with 200 people who have limited medical care and education and virtually no access to basics of life such as clean water, electricity, toilets and waste disposal facilities.

The trip had several aims:
• Operate our field medical clinic to provide much needed medical care
Pass on donations of clothes, hygiene and educational items and food to families, and serve a welcome village lunch
• Thoroughly understand the next steps in Pa la U becoming a self-sustainable community through a survey of the village
• Run a health seminar on baby and mother nutrition

The volunteers met in Hua Hin at 7am on Saturday morning and headed out on three trucks, two sponsored by our regular sponsor, Dave of Hua Hin Car Hire. The trucks contained medical supplies, family aid items such as oral hygiene products courtesy of our long time benefactor Omroom, and donated clothes. Food for the village lunch was kindly donated by Banyan, and rice crackers by Laiki Rice Crackers.

Our volunteers included a new doctor, Paul Johnson and a new nurse Paula Sapala to work alongside our regular doctor Coco and nurse Emma. Eleni, a volunteer from Hua Hin today, translators Yiu, Leyna and Mint, and regular project team members Sam our osteopath, Prabhjeet, Paul, Garry, Charlotte, Caitlin and Keith made up the rest of the team.

Medical clinic
As we approached the village, the village leader told us about a very sick patient who needed urgent medical attention. Go La (42) had been confined to bed for ten days, had stopped eating and drinking, and had become very dehydrated. She was becoming weaker and needed to be admitted to hospital urgently. With the help of our donors we were able to support that, and she was treated for kidney problems a few days later.

After arriving at the village we set up the main medical clinic where our three medical teams saw 29 patients. Along with the usual cases of intestinal, skin and chest infections we were presented with a 12-month old baby with a hernia who may need an operation when he is a little older.

Food and clothes distribution
After the medical clinic we distributed the clothes and food that had been kindly provided by our donors. We prepared a special meal for attendees of the clinic and their families using food donated by Banyan. Altogether about 80 people enjoyed the lunch and expressed their gratitude.
Jungle aid handing out food donated by Banyan
Survey of the village
As the medical clinic got underway another Jungle Aid team began a survey of the village. This included a detailed mapping of the village and discussions with community members in their houses. The survey was completed the next day and will be used to help us support the community to develop in several areas:
• Providing light using inexpensive modern low-voltage solar lamps; most houses use dangerous kerosene lamps that are a fire hazard
• Improving access to clean water; Most villagers fetch water from the river which is difficult, particularly for the weaker members of the community
• Improving sanitation; Many people do not have access to a hygienic toilet
• Providing garbage facilities; Solid waste is not always discarded properly

Seminar on baby nutrition and hygiene
The survey and other discussions with parents of young children revealed a number of problems faced by young families:
• Some babies are given condensed milk (which is almost nutrition-free and leads to illnesses such as thrush) if families cannot afford baby formula
• Some mothers believe that baby formula is better than breast milk, so stop feeding breast milk too soon
• Many mothers stop breastfeeding too soon because they do not eat well enough or drink enough water to continue
• Keeping themselves and their babies clean is difficult for parents because of the limited access to clean water

We invited mothers with babies of breast-feeding age to bring their babies to a seminar on baby and mother nutrition on the Monday morning. Together with the village leader and a local teacher we spent two hours with mothers discussing the best options in feeding their babies, and also good hygiene practices.

We found that two mothers of newborn babies of less than one week old had immediate needs. One was feeding condensed milk because she could produce no milk herself and was too poor to buy formula. Thanks to our donors we were able to sponsor this baby and provide formula. The other mother was also poor and though she was able to breast feed, could not afford clothes for the baby, so we were able to support in this regard.

The seminar was informative and fun. We will follow up to see how the baby and mother nutrition practices have improved. We also identified the need for a seminar on sanitation and hygiene, which we will facilitate in future.

Without your support we cannot offer the help that is needed.

After an amazing three days with the incredible volunteers and incredible people we work with we headed home.

Thank you for supporting the work we do…….

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