Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Migrant Hood

Today was the first time since I arrived here that I was reminded that some parts of Thailand aren’t like Bangkok, or even idyllic Thai villages.

We hold a mobile clinic every Wednesday with the help of some staff from Samut Sakhon Hospital, the provincial hospital in Mahachai. Today we went into a migrant neighborhood with rows of low concrete buildings divided into small rooms by thin plywood. Dr. Khin and some nurses set up shop in one of the hallways.

I didn't get photos of the row houses, but one family stays in each room, and although you can close and lock your door, there’s not a lot of privacy from your neighbors’ prying ears. However, some families had TVs and refrigerators.

Other houses in the neighborhood were corrugated tin boxes on bamboo stilts, sitting over a black, fetid marsh full of garbage and toxic waste. The smell got worse once it started to rain.

Even without Lake Trash, the constant smell of fish drying in discarded fan cages is unmistakeable.

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