HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Re: Kindness in Action

A big thank you

Problems with the water supply

Re: Kindness in Action

Thank you for taking an interest in this story and publishing the previous two articles. I have been working as a co-ordination volunteer with Dr. Amil Shapka, director for “Kindness in Action” on organizing this first ever KIA project to Asia for the past 4 years. Yes, it’s taken that long! The obstacles involved are another story in itself.

About ‘Kindness in Action’ - Dr. Shapka started “Kindness in Action” in 1996 with a handful of like-minded persons after a trip to Guatemala. Since then there are now over 200 Canadian dental professionals who volunteer their vacation time and pay all their own expenses in order to provide free dental treatment to those in need. Those who may not receive treatment otherwise, in the form of restorative work (if possible), extractions, scaling and cleaning and dental hygiene education (focusing on the youth).

Since 1996, KIA is now providing these services on an annual basis in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, Belize and now for the first time Thailand.

That’s the good news, but “unfortunately” there is a possibility that KIA will not be returning to Thailand next year. Why?

The reason for this is certainly not the need. In fact the need is great, as has been confirmed during our first trip. It’s not beautiful Thailand and its wonderful loving people; the reason is “economics”.

Traveling to these other countries is quite simply 3-4 times less expensive than coming to Thailand. Why?

Because there is a greater understanding and more co-operation in those countries with respect to the need of limiting costs. In the other countries our volunteers stay in the villages with the people and share their food. This leads to a mutually rewarding and memorable experience.

Secondly, there is no need to travel 3-6 hours everyday to get to another “needy” village as was done here in Thailand. In other countries there are enough people in an area that need treatment so there is no need for extensive traveling and all the costs involved. This means less traveling time so that the volunteer team is not overtired and more people are able to receive treatment (more productive, after all that’s why we’re here).

Thirdly, unlike Thailand, their governments do not hinder our efforts. We need to pay a sizable fee in order to obtain a special document, ATA Carnet, to register and bring our dental equipment into Thailand. We are not allowed to bring dental supplies; they need to be purchased here in Thailand. Whereas we have accumulated dental supplies in Canada through donations from Canadian Rotary Clubs as well as other sources, we are not allowed to bring them into Thailand which depletes our finances even further.

There is a KIA annual general meeting in Edmonton, Alberta - Canada in May 2004 which I will attend. Decisions will be made at this time regarding a continued effort in Thailand. I believe the facts have been laid out and I welcome you, your subscribers and any other interested parties, who may take this to heart, to provide any suggestions prior to the may meeting that may be beneficial in keeping this worthwhile mission alive.

Thank you - without the Chiangmai Mail this story would not be revealed. I wish there were more people like you in the media industry with the “human touch” and “truth”. That’s what the world needs today.
Best wishes,
Chris Dodd
KIA volunteer

A big thank you

Dear Chiangmai Mail team and friends,

A big thank you to all of you who work so hard and produce such a wonderful newspaper. We spent 6 weeks in Chiang Mai and were lucky enough to find your excellent publication the second day here. The right mix of news and entertainment, just a little bit ‘thin’- it never lasted us more than 2 days and we were through.

You do a wonderful job; seem to have a soft spot in your heart and just the right people seem to live here to make it happen. The Mardi Gras article on one side in issue 9 and the Rotary dentists contribution (what a task to dedicate holidays, money and know how) were such a superb and colorful combination. But one week later you topped it with the Gala Night at the Mandarin Oriental, which we afterwards were so sorry we missed.

But we made a promise. As soon as we are back in Europe, we will get in touch with our local Rotary Club, show them what is done in Asia and by the time we are back in Thailand, we will belong to these fine groups of people as well. You taught us more about charity and hands on experiences than anybody in the busy old modern world ever did.

Issue 10 was once again a great mix of Hollywood and kindness, but just the cover of this week’s Chiangmai Mail with the elephants on the front shows so much class and is so much Thailand! Fairytale stuff. We love it.

Your combination of ‘hard news’ with the little twist at the end or in the byline, art related tips, even the mixture of local personalities, their mix of nationalities and cultures show the variety which we found nowhere in Asia so far. Just to let you know that you made some people’s time here very worthwhile.

We will take Chiang Mai home in our heart and the Chiangmai Mail in our suitcase, will look forward to reading you on the internet and count the days when we will be back to spend the winter in our second home.

Sawasdee Kha, Salut, Auf Wiedersehen, til’ we meet again,
Germaine and Hannah Daniel

Problems with the water supply

Dear Sir,
For the last three months our water supply has been erratic. We call the water department and can be given one of two main excuses, these being that there has been a break in a pipe, or that the electricity supply to the main pumps was off.

Yesterday we received both excuses at different times! It seems that the main cause of poor water supply is not being given to the public.

Besides the times when the water is actually cut, the pressure is down a lot of the time, to the point where it cannot reach 1.5 metres to fill our tank.

The water department does not seem to know the reason for this, but I suspect that it is a deliberate method they are using to conserve water, the reservoirs being very low, almost empty.

Last week we were assured that the water supply for Songkran would be without problems. That would be nice, but even nicer would be a supply we can depend on. If the government want people to stop using wells and bores, they must give a consistent water supply to replace them.

Yours Sincerely,
Natcha Ratanaphan