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The Children of Baan Gerda, Why them?

  Several months after I took charge of the Bangkok Volunteers meetup group, I found myself scouring the web for organizations to include in the calendar of events for 2013. Many matches showed-up from our best friend Google, orphan homes located in Bangkok and in the nearby and faraway provinces too. Gerda is an unfamiliar word and the least I expected when I typed the keywords “orphan homes”. Then after a tireless review I made on the sites from the list, I just kept coming back to Baan Gerda.

Was I curious? Challenged? Are the fate of physically-disabled orphans and underprivileged children in Bangkok too small for me to deal with? Do I really have to travel almost 3 hours just to reach out for HIV infected and affected orphans to prove something to myself? I say these feelings just came next after seeing and remembering images in my head and those images drove me to decide I’ll do it.

A simple photo from their site caught my attention. I felt something calm, fresh and relaxing when I first saw it, and the curiosity came next. How are the children under those roofs? Walking and running on that ground, or maybe doing other else like playing and stuff, etc. It also looks remote; will it be hard to get there? Will the children play with me or just stand, look at me and say nothing?

Another image came to my head was my university life. As a student with major on research, solving equations, romancing facts and figure charts, I was asked along with two of my classmates to prepare a report about AIDS. It wasn’t about the stat of infections, not the demography, nor how it was developed; we went focused about the virus itself and how it propagates in human T cells. It was too detailed of a report to consider so we hired an artist to draw the virus and a cell similar to the image below as part of our presentation.

I got a pretty nice grade from that subject after the semester; it was Effective Speech with a requirement of 3.0 units. It was satisfying, not about the grade I earned from the effort we made and the Q&A that went very well, but it was the understanding about the disease itself. I never thought that time it’s going to be very valuable now.

I was in my late teens when the disease had an outbreak, now in my middle age it may no longer be life threatening but the figures of infection still keeps on high marks almost everywhere. Whatever the numbers are telling us in time, the suffering is still there. Seeing children who were born with it can be too hard for anyone to deal with. The question of how long will they survive the medication always remain a question. How about the side effects of the anti-retroviral pills affect their daily lives and not yet considering the discrimination from the society? The children of Baan Gerda are aware of what’s happening to them, to their physical, mental and social being.

The support to the children I concluded was something made out of confidence. Not an expert who can provide answers to many questions, not a medical researcher who can give a solution, but the confidence of understanding the disease that eventually pushed my heart and mind to empathize, and then love. People who aren’t aware of the root of its infections, avoiding the victims; living in fear and bigotry were bred out of ignorance I believe. Or maybe they just have their own comfort level to deal with and better to keep, and that is their own self-made disease. I’m so very pleased to work with some few dedicated volunteers in our community on this project.

We learned in time, and the knowledge we gain if used for a good cause will turn into something beautiful. Help us support the children of Baan Gerda.

  7/2/2014 3:45:28 PM
  Baan Gerda