May 26, 2017
Day 8 in beautiful Thailand! This morning we made a visit to a local hospital. Although we were informed that the hospital was frequented mainly by foreigners and upper-class Thai, I was still surprised by the quality of the hospital. We also learned a lot about the health care system here in Thailand and again, I was surprised at how advanced it seemed.
Not being a health science major, the hospital visit was interesting, but not the most interesting part of the day. That part came later, after we experience our first monsoon in the land of smiles. I have never seen a storm like this and I was so shocked at how quickly it happened! A few of us tried to go to the beach and it started getting darker and darker out and then all of a sudden it was pouring and we found ourselves running back to the room!
So to the best part of the week and possibly the whole trip. All week Lisa and Donna had been running around trying to secretly spread information about the thank you/retirement gift we had in mind for Dr. Kingston. We had all settled on the idea of starting a scholarship here at the school in her name. We would call it the Dr. Kathleen Kingston Scholarship Foundation. Due to some complications, we weren’t able to have the scholarship go through Gannon, but we were still able to help and make such a difference on our own and get donors to pitch it!
After speaking to Father, Lisa and Donna learned about a family with two young children enrolled in the school that had been unable to pay tuition for two years now. The father had a stroke five years ago which left him unable to work, and they had run through their savings. After hearing their story, we all decided to donate 1,500 bot to the family in Dr. Kingstons name. Because of this, we raised enough money to cover their past two years and the father is giving them a “fresh start”. We are also going to continue to cover their kids schooling until they are back on their feet because of the scholarship.
At our culture lesson that evening, we told Dr. Kingston about the plans and brought the family in for everyone to meet. Obviously, it was very emotional. You could very clearly see how greatful the family was, and it was amazing to know how much we were impacting these people. Its amazing how so little to us means so much to them. This trip has really taught me the importance of giving back to those who aren’t as fortunate as me and I am very thankful for being able to have this opportunity.
Although all of our experiences in Thailand have been amazing, this is the memory I will cherish most. When I misplace my souvenirs, forget how to pronounce “kop khun kha”, and reaclimate to cooler weather, how we were able to help this family, and how greatful they were, is something I will always remember.