Thailand is a country of many temples (Buddhist).
On Sunday, our 10 volunteers including 3 trauma therapy professionals and 1 public health professor, visited a Senior Care Center in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
During our week in Chiang Mai, along with our efforts to improve the work to help those in need who have mental health challenges, associated with traumatic life experiences, such as those related to human trafficking, our group has cultural and historical training, such as this visit to an ancient Buddhist temple site.
On Monday morning, we visited North Chiang Mai University. Along with our meeting with the University President...
Our professionals conducted trainings to students, which included actual Therapy sessionS with students in two different classes.
And a presentation by Dr. Brian Barthel on how to handle and manage unhealthy emotions.
On Monday afternoon our group visited the psych-social department at the Hang Dong hospital in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We learned about the services available to those with mental health challenges.
On Tuesday morning we visited a special needs school and interacted with children in their classes and in this courtyard where we had fun blowing bubbles. This experience began with a meeting with the school director and staff and a presentation from them about the school.
On Tuesday afternoon we visited a private school. These young students were very well behaved, and their English was quite good. Caitlin led them in English language activities. We also did Win-it-in-a-Minute games that included relay races where students were divided into three teams to compete carrying marshmallows with chopsticks and dropping the marsh mallows in bowls. We had lunch with the owner of the school, staff, and students in their open-air lunchroom.
On Wednesday morning we visited Chiang Mai University. Dr. Brian Barthel began with a presentation on dealing with emotions. Then we divided all the students into three groups of 25 students in each group. Our trauma therapy professionals spent 45 minutes with each group, rotating from group to group and taught the students actual therapy techniques.
Early on Thursday morning we loaded into the back of a small truck and took a fairly long drive out into the rural area and into the hills to an elephant sanctuary. We put on tradition Karin shirts so as to have a familiarity with the elephants. The elephants were graceful and gentle mannered. Our interactions included feeding the elephants bananas (a treat for them) and bamboo. We also had a mud bath in a pond where we threw mud onto each elephant an on each other, followed by a trip to the river where we splashed water on the elephant to wash the mud off of them and each other. Then we ate a delicious meal.
Our event filled week rounded out on Friday with a visit to the Chiang Mai Psychiatric hospital. We met with the Director of the hospital (an acquaintance of Vivat) who gave us a presentation about the state of mental health in Thailand.