Well, it may be crazy, but our internship is officially at it’s end.
We wrapped up the last week of GROW by taking a 6 hour bus ride up North to Chiang Mai, the second largest city in Thailand. Arriving in a real city was a big shock, and we are quite impressed! There is food, shopping, markets, and people everywhere! We have also seen quite a few tourists, which is a stark change from Mae Sot. Mae Sot definitely felt like Burma rather than Thailand and we interacted with almost all Burmese people and ate mostly Burmese food, whereas Chiang Mai has primarily Thai people and there is lots of Thai food to try!
We’ve spent time at the BWU office in Chiang Mai, which is currently undergoing many changes as BWU staff are packing up to move offices! We edited some English reports, spent a few days helping cut, glue, and paste maps into booklets on forced labor that they produced, and worked on finishing up all of our reports and other internship work.
The work that we’ve been doing includes a presentation about the trip and what we’ve learned for our GlobeMed chapter, to be presented next fall, and a google document focused on each area of our work back at Whitman, with helpful ideas we’ve gotten from being here. For example, we have a campaigns section with ideas for fundraisers to put on at school related to our new cultural knowledge, a Global Health U section with ideas for awareness events and topics for discussions based on our new awareness of the issues facing the Burmese people, and more!
We’ve also had the opportunity to meet with a few more organizations in Chiang Mai, including Globemed partners from other schools! We’ve met Migrant Assistance Program (MAP), GlobeMed at Emory’s partner, Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT), GlobeMed at Dartmouth’s partner, and the WLB or Women’s League of Burma, the umbrella organization for BWU and other women’s organizations. It’s been exciting to meet with organizations that are familiar with GlobeMed, the work that we do, and have Skype contact with some of the people we’ve met at GlobeMed national events like the Leadership Institute and the Global Health Summit!
At the end of last week, we moved from a homestay with Toe Toe, our BWU contact person, into a hostel inside the old city to begin our travel. At first it was shocking to be surrounded by European students on vacation, but we’ve had a good time trying new foods and exploring the plethora of walking markets.
In closing, we are so thankful for all of the opportunities and experiences we’ve had. The people we’ve been able to meet and connect with, and the relationships we’ve built have been the highlight. The meaning of partnership has been taken to a new level, and we’re excited to see what GlobeMed and BWU can accomplish together.
Colleen, Katie, and Abbey