Going to B.....urm......A
From October 22-31 will be my B-urm-@ [yes, I will be editing certain words for security purposes] trip. I will fly up to Northern Thailand, then catch a bus up to the border. At the border, a guide will take me 2 hours into B-urm-@. Please pray for my safety.
Back in April, I was researching what current groups were doing midwifery/dental/medic trainings in Thailand. Global Refuge International (GRI), a Christian organization, was looking for some long-term volunteers (doctor, nurse, and/or midwife) for a project on the Thai-B-urm-@ border.
I contacted GRI and asked for more information. They immediately responded and said that I could come visit the project if I wanted to as a local observer, student, teacher, and accountability partner. And by the way, it's not in Thailand. Instead, Thailand is their base, but they are actually going into Sh-@n State, B-urm-@ and running a 6 month medic training.
Sh-@n State is a disputed territory between B-urm-@ and China, and the training site is at a Sh-@n State Army base. GRI has permission from the Army to come in and do this training. Sh-@n State has no hospitals or clinics. GRI is training these medics to go out with their "hospital in a backpack" to their own communities. They are trained at beginner and intermediate levels, and if they show higher capabilities are given advanced skills. Currently there are 18 medics, ranging in education from completing 3rd grade all the way up to university degree.
The reasons I am going:
1) Accountability partner for GRI.
2) Research international birth/midwifery trainings.
3) Observe the obstetric training: is it culturally sensitive? are they teaching evidence-based skills? are they teaching potentially hazardous information?
4) Learn more medic skills: my training has been 90% midwifery and I would like to learn whatever I can learn.
5) Assist in teaching: Midwifery and breastfeeding, and some English classes.
6) Hopefully observe or attend a birth if any women come to the base to give birth, or maybe I can go into the nearby village.
7) Working to prevent unnecessary maternal and infant mortality: B-urm-@ has a very high maternal mortality rate, with a lifetime risk of 1 in 100 for dying in childbirth.
8) Opportunity of a lifetime!
So for a little over a week, I'll be eating only Sh-@n food and sleeping in a sleeping bag. I will get to experience COLD weather for once. The Sh-@n language is similar to Thai, so hopefully I can communicate some. I hope I can make a difference somehow and be an encouragement to the foreign staff who have sacrificed 6 months of their lives as they live far from home. I can't wait to come back and blog all about it!