Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Indian diaspora at the Lion's 'Health check camp' in Thailand

When Rikhi invited me to join the 2010 camp I was happy he did! I had really enjoyed my earlier trips! While speaking to others at the camp I told them how easy it is to get addicted, Shanti who is from Brunei, said 'inspired?'. A much better word and that is how we, known to other Lion members as the 'Rikhi Group', truly felt.

Earlier the group was mostly his friends and relatives. This year a group of expats and overseas visitors from Singapore and Brunei joined. I am glad that my blogs of 2008 and 2009 on the camp had motivated a few of my expat friends to volunteer in 2010.
Ramakrishna and Lakshminarayan all eager to start. They helped at the 'Eye care' section.
You see Arun Sethi with his video camera! More of him later! Readers of my blog will know Rikhi!
Chandra and Sujatha, also at the eye care, being briefed!
The volunteers at the Eye Care were kept busy as the number of patients far exceeded the estimate! The doctors carried on without any respite till they had examined them all. It was hard work!
I had wished on my last trip that someone would record this very special event for me on video! It was my desire to show this video to my Indian friends, especially featuring the mobile dental hospital. I knew that India had many projects on eye care, but was not sure if they had one wherein patients were fitted with dentures.

I also wanted to highlight that Rikhi, an Indian, was closely involved and had donated the mobile dental van! My wish was granted when my dear friends Arun and his wife Geeta joined us.

Arun is a freelance professional documentary producer. He is a graduate of FTII Pune; a premier film institute. He was busy shooting a documentary on Saturday and could be at the camp only on Sunday. It was very nice of Rikhi to send his car to fetch my friends!

I was assigned to be with Arun and offer him assistance! I could see he was very tired as he had worked very late on Saturday! But I guess the energy that we perceived in the camp invigorated him and he was in his elements in no time!

Geeta pitched in by interviewing doctors! Geeta, deeply involved with the UN HIV-AIDS program was very impressed and posed some very relevant questions to the doctors! She said she loved the experience of being part of this camp.
One of the Indian donors is seen here distributing clothes and hats, another contributed a Thai sweet, a delicacy and traditionally Rikhi arranges distribution of Ice Cream to all at the camp! I guess 3999 ice creams were given away, it would have been 4000 if I also had one!

Arun called it a celebration while it was also a serious business!

It was estimated that about 4000 patients came. Around 250 needed an operation for cataract and around 200 dentures were fitted. There is a lot of work involved before and after the eventful day. The patients needing dentures are seen earlier by doctors to get the molds ready and they are fitted with dentures on the camp day. Cataract operations are arranged in a nearby hospital later in the week by the club.

Here are the actual numbers of patients given treatment for various conditions:

Dear Srinidhi more info on medical camp patients:

General Practice dept - 842 patients

ENT dept - 304 patients with 11 ear operations

Skin Specialist - 303 patients

Eye dept - 1452 patients with 1340 reading glasses given away

and 259 eyes to be operated. operation will take place on feb 19 - 21.

Dental dept

dentures - full mouth 97 patients

- partial 73 patients

tooth filling - 211 patients

tooth extraction - 198 patients

removing plaque - 236 patients

Hair cut - 315 people

total 4,031 people were given service.

also pharmacist gave medicine to 950 patients and 1008 people visited the pavilion which Dr. Piyawat had set up to show the King's Dental Project.

best regards


The camp is inaugurated by the Governor of the province. The province arranges for the tents, police take care of the extra traffic. Students and Teachers help the Lions club organisers in many ways taking care and guiding the patients. It is a real co-operative effort initiated and organised by the Lion's club!

While this blog is about Indian participation, it is great to see the Thai way of organising and dealing with the large numbers of patients who turn up! I feel it is quite unique! One has to actually see to appreciate the gentle and pleasant way the people are treated, however disabled and however poor!

There is much more to write about this camp. It includes the impression of the many volunteers and donors who were at the camp!

Lion Kittipoj was the interpreter here!

I guess they are taking a well deserved break!

A proud moment for us as the Royal sponsored dental clinic pavilion features Rikhi, Seema, family and the Lions club members! They as the donors of the Mobile unit were given an audience by his Majesty the King of Thailand. A very rare honor!
The 'Rikhi' group was treated to some good vegetarian soup and food! The members of the Lions club were extremely hospitable!

Aparna doing her bit!
Proud uncle Rikhi with his niece Aparna and Shanti from Brunei.
I and Aparna distributed snacks on behalf of Balaji. His company URC Thailand donated snacks for the waiting patients.

Jimmy and Pinky have participated in camps for a number of years! This year they were with the ENT section and were really challenged as many of the patients could not hear at all!
We see Singh from Singapore. He and Shanti called the experience awesome! They were very generous donors. While Rikhi is modest about his efforts, donations by Indians constituted a substantial part of the total collection by the club!

While there were many old people many children also came! Being aware of the need for good health right at an early age is wonderful.
The children also learnt a lot about their King and his contribution to the well being of his people in many varied ways in this pavilion.
The children were also kept entertained while they waited!

It is the eye drops that make them look so serious! Normally Thais have lovely smiles!

The patient is being taught how to use the dentures! It is the first time for her and she was very nervous!

Ever smiling Thai girls posed for a picture. I did not realise that arranging their hair was part of the pose and waited for them to bring their hands down! You live and learn!

This was the best smile of all. She has new dentures and is thrilled to see what it has done to her face! These are the moments we wait for!


Nandini said...

Excellent trip report, Appa! And great pictures, especially the last one. Glad you could go again and bring Arun and Geeta along. Looking forward to the video.

Anonymous said...

great post and pictures! congrats to the "Rikhi Group"!

Anonymous said...

Excellent work done.

dolly said...


Pinky Bhusry said...

Thank You . Very well written , I wish I could express my words like you do.

Jayashree Mani said...

nice pictures Uncle.. looks like it was a very fulfilling trip !
best to you and Aunty

Lata Vinod said...

Dear Uncle

Thankyou very much for including us in your list. I am also really inspired and tempted to attend the camp next time.

I will upload the photos which we took at our house soon.

With love and regards


Sujatha Ramkrishna said...

Dear Tara &Nidhi

The pictures and post was very nice.
We looking forward to see the next trip we r eagerly waiting for that
pl bring Tara next time.
We enjoyed ur company.

We will meet u soon in blr.

Ashok Kumar said...

Wow !!!!

asha bhatia said...

A very noble work indeed!
Congrats Rikhi and Seema.
Thanks Pink, for the info.

Dolly Koghar said...

wowo..quiet an astronomical feat yaaaar...cheers and bravo..there can never be enough good people and good deeds in this world of need and sadness and disease and poverty....


venkatesh_mohini said...

Nidhi uncle, Very nice reading about all the good deeds done in one camp. Great pics.

Ranmaswamy Prasad said...

Dear Rikhi / Nidhi
I am impressed with much good work done by Rikhi's team. Please let me know the dates of the next Camp. If it is OK with my schedules I wish to volunteer my services.
Are there any other schemes under Rikhi's Lions Club besides Medical Camps - such as Water Supply, Electrification, Low Cost House building, Artisan Training etc where my skills may be more applicable.
Once again congratulations to Rikhi for contributing to the needy.
Best regards and New Year wishes.

Maya Gopinath said...

Dear Nidhi,

It was so nice meeting up with you at Varsha and Bobby's place. Hope to see you again in Bangkok with Tara.

Your account of the medical camp was truly inspiring! The beatific smile in the picture at the end of the blog says it all! Kudos to all of you and keep up the great work.

With best wishes,

VATSALA said...

Nice pictures!
Liked everything except the emphasis on eating!

srinidhi said...

Agreed! I had to list out all the goodies I missed eating!

Arun Sethi said...

Many thanks for your excellent coverage and appreciative comments (including those about the filmmaker!) on the Health Camp. Geeta and I have been totally overwhelmed by the event, the scale of the services provided and the turnout. We enjoyed it very, very much, and also brought back a lifetime of memories from that single day- of course, the hospitality of Rikhi was outstanding, but we both want to thank you, very much, for exposing us to the health camp....