Fang Clinic Photos

Clinic Overview

Clinic On The Ridge

The clinic sits atop a ridge in a small Shan village.

Thailand does not officially recognize the Shan people from Burma as refugees. Although this might seem to be good for these people seeking refuge from the Burmese military, it causes many more problems.

They are still occasionally rounded up by the Thai police and deported, the people are hired as migrant workers for almost no pay, and the clinic itself has no official status: local authorities must be paid off for it to remain open.

The worst problem is that since the Shan people are not "officially refugees," they do not receive much international attention or support. There are currently over 100,000 Shan seeking refuge in the Fang area alone; estimates for all of Thailand top 500,000.

Shan Women Dancing

Shan Women Dancing

The night we arrived at the Fang Clinic the local villagers were holding a party to celebrate the completion of two new buildings.

Looks like somebody didn't use "Tide Bleach with Colorguard."

This would be the FOURTH celebration I've stumbled upon...

Sai Sem

Sai Sem in the Temple

Sai Sem is the Shan man who set up the Fang Clinic. He will be setting up a second clinic inside of Shan State (Burma) in April 2000.

The Shan are one of the 26 different ethnic groups inside the Shan State who are repressed under Burmese military rule.

In this picture, Sai Sem is showing us a Buddhist temple in small refugee village.

Becca Practices The Ancient Art Of Floor Medicine

Becca Practices Medicine

Some of the patients have probably never sat in a chair. Upon entering the clinic room, they sit on the floor irregarless of the available seats!

Patient And His Son

Patient And His Son

This man is suffering from an advanced stage of AIDS, as well as a brain infection which has left him partially paralyzed.

His son, who appears in good health, stays with him at the clinic.

Patient's Son

Patient's Son

From what we can tell, the boy seems unaware that he will be an orphan when his father dies, probably within the month. His mother passed away recently as well. No one knows what will happen to him.

Field Dispensary

Field Dispensary

Sai Sem has also set up this small "medical dispensary" in the fields around Fang. Most of the Shan refugees work in the fields all day, so this dispensary can provide medication in case the people cannot make it to the clinic.

Sai Sem and the Field Medic

Sai Sem and the Field Medic

Sai Sem and the dispensary medic in the fields. The current crop is onions, soon to be followed by peppers (hot), then rice in the monsoon season.

Smokey Mountains East

Lazy Hazy Day

Standing among banana plants, you can barely make out the next ridge. This is not due to poor image resolution! The air is almost ALWAYS this smokey due to all the burning.

Scorpions In My Bed

The Scorpion

Well, this 2" scorpion wasn't IN my bed, but about a foot from it. Michelle went to get Sai Sem, whose response was:

"Oh, these are not poisonous like the African kind. I was stung by one much bigger in the jungle, and I am fine."

Thanks Sai Sem. We feel much better now.


Page Revised 4/23/00