Father Joe Maier, of the Human Development Center, says that Thailand's crematoriums are croaking and groaning because of the number of people dying in this country due to the AIDS virus. But, many claim the AIDS figures quoted in Thailand are misleading because they do not see many "stick people" walking around Bangkok. Well, once an AIDS victim gets to the point of being labeled a "stick person," they don't feel much like walking around in public anyway.
There isn't an easy answer to
the AIDS problem, but the Dramaraksaniwesana Project is part of the solution, and a big one at
that. For many people suffering from AIDS, just having a place to go where they don't feel
like lepers is a big step forward. Understanding, patience, and love are all vital in
helping people with AIDS cope with their illness. And, all of these things are provided at
this Buddhist hospice.
Even today, despite all the warnings, many men have sex with prostitutes and don't use condoms. Then they go back home, and have sex with their wives, and don't use condoms. Many women, unware of their husband's promiscuity, catch HIV due to their mate's carelessness, and they are immediately branded a whore because of it. It's not fair, and the shame these women carry is immense, especially if they transmit the disease to their babies. The most innocent victims of this disease are the babies. What have they done to deserve such a cruel fate?
Many women enter into their sex industry to make money for their families, but if they catch the dreaded disease many of their families will disown them, while gladly accepting the money they made working in the sex trade. There is a story of one particularly beautiful prostitute who made enough money in the business to build her family a beautiful new spacious home. When it became apparent that she was dying of the disease they built her a little wooden shack in the back of the house, and that is where she spent her remaining days. Some family, some understanding!!
Walking through the hospice's hospital in Lopburi one can't help but think of Neil Young's haunting lyric, "I've seen the needle and the damage done." Many junkies still hand their buddies a common needle hoping to give them a good time. No time! No how!
One worker at the hospital says the disease claims at least two victims a day, and sometimes as many as five. As they are being prepared for their cremation the bodies lie in wait in the crematorium. Frozen in time by the laser like grip that is AIDS, the victims stare back at you, and ask why, yearning for a life unfulfilled and never realized.
Mother Teresa's main task was to prepare those who were about to die for their deaths. We can't do what she did, but we can all help those who are suffering from AIDS in some small way.
Heads of State and Government and Representatives of States and Governments, assembled at the United Nations, from 25 to 27 June 2001