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Marianne's Holiday Reflection

The following story was provided by Positive Women Victoria (Australia).


Coming home after a 6 week tour of Europe and Thailand I reflect and think how lucky we here in Australia are.
With a high percentage of the Thai population being HIV+, I was curious to compare their hospital facilities to ours.
In Bangkok I drove past one of their major hospitals and was astounded by what I saw. From outside, this multi storey building had a banner tied to it saying 'First Class Hospital'. I'd hate to think what a second class one might be. The building had broken windows, peeling paintwork, crumbling render and was filthy. I could only hope the outside did not reflect was it was like on the inside.

On the island of Koh Samui, I was befriended by a group of working girls who had discovered that my job entailed applying makeup. They all wanted a make up lesson. I obliged, telling them to bring their make up bags down onto the beach.
Can you imagine the sight of myself and 12 Thai prostitutes sitting on the beach, doing make up looking in hand mirrors, giggling with passing tourists oggling in disbelief !
We had a fabulous time!

Over the next days the girls often came by the beach to say 'hello'. I began asking questions regarding their work, family, hopes, dreams and naturally HIV/AIDS.
Regarding work, it was their destiny and duty to support family. They didn't seem to aspire to any hopes or dreams -this was their life. They just accepted it to be 'the norm'.
HIV/AIDS issues, my questions were not acknowledged. Selective hearing was put in place.
I was told it was the responsibility of the Westerners to provide a condom. They would have sex with the client , safe or not -money was most important .
On a world wide level we still have many issues to deal with in education re prevention and the further spread of the virus.
Australia really is the lucky country.

Story by Marianne. Positive Women Victoria. Added to site, 1999.

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