By Ms. Wakako Matsumoto (Minamata Church, Fukuoka Diocese)
Dengue fever is prevalent in Thailand now and many people around Ms. Matsumoto have it. Ms. Matsumoto wrote to us.
<Plang Jai Pooying>
The leaders in Plang Jai Pooying live based on Chiang Mai. They sometimes go back to their home villages to discuss on their situation and handicrafts.
The member, one after another, says that it is difficult to make handicrafts since August. It is due to the health problem. The members themselves and their family members are not well. Some of the members in Chiang Mai are sick, too. We wondered that dengue started spreading this year again and hope they will get well soon. However, it has become worse and more people get sick. I asked their symptom and they said that besides the high fever they have sputum with blood and internal bleedings all over the body. It is dengue hemorrhagic fever and epidemic this year. In Chiang Mai it is breaking out most in Sankamphaeng and people ask me, "How are you? Do you have fever or bleeding?" instead of "Have you eaten?" After that new influenza also started spreading and people talk about health everywhere.
Only the remaining member who could fortunately avoid the sickness worked on the project. Pusady is one of them and has been working for RTRC for long time. After she joined the project Plang Jai Pooying she has been making many kinds of handicrafts with her sister Pim. I am very grateful for that she is well and working positively. But it was decided that she would go back to her home village PaPaeVillage (Ban PaPae) and join the other project there. After she returned to her village we have no choice but to wait for her coming to Chiang Mai to discuss about the details of the handicrafts as there is no access to the internet or mobile phone in her village and it is not safe for RTRC staff to go to her village during the rainy season. Recently Pusady happened to visit Chiang Mai and we had a chance to talk to her. Luckily most of the products which I will bring to Japan in October can be designed by her and her sister. It is our challenge that the village women who are helping Plang Jai Pooying got sick. In fact all the staff and the women thought and discussed how to manage busy and off season on the farm and dry and rainy season. We have, however, never thought about the health problems. In the area which is far from the cities people can not receive the medical service easily., In the village of Pusady, people used to borrow elephants from a Karen village nearby (over mountains and valleys, actually) to carry the patients to the nearest town for the medical treatment in the rainy season until a few years ago. Now her village has a clinic and a doctor but in many villages, people still have difficulties in going to see doctors. I think I still overlook a lot of problems. I hope to refresh my mind while I am in Japan next time, so that I can share their thought and work with them better.
* Plang Jai Pooying (Center for the minor tribes' women) Groups for minor tribes' women, mainly Lahu, Lua, Karen and Hmong to create income by traditional woven production and get independent