Last week we had another clinic – this time with Urban Light in Chiang Mai. As my friend at Urban Light has beautifully written, it was “more than just a medical clinic”. I highly recommend that you click over to his blog to read what he had to say about the day.
We saw 14 of the boys who regularly participate in the activities at the Urban Light center. The “clinic” was held at the center during the hours when the guys are normally hanging out, learning English, working or playing at the computer, etc. Some of the guys also participate in a baking class (at another site), learning kitchen basics, baking techniques, and other life skills.
The clinic was of course to be a way to bring health care to the boys who don’t normally have any health care: they have no money, they may face discrimination, and seriously, can you think of any male youth who would visit a doctor unless he thought he was dying? Even so, it was a laid-back clinic. It was an opportunity for the guys to ask about anything on their mind or about any symptoms they may be experiencing.
Although they participate in high-risk activities, we didn’t start probing straight-away into those issues. We were building relationships and trust. I got to hear stories about their families, their faith, where they live, their struggles with substance abuse… and more. Orphaned, homeless, seeking a life but not quite sure how to find it, deeper connections were formed in an environment that had more to do with well-being and caring for their whole person than about medicine. That’s what it’s all about anyway.
I’m blessed to be a part of this work and privileged to be the doctor for these precious boys.This is only the beginning of developing a more comprehensive health care for these and many others out there. A very BIG thank you goes out to those who help make this possible.