PATTAYA – More than three years after being evicted from its Pattaya home by intolerant neighbors, an HIV and AIDS hospice opened the doors to its new headquarters in Nongprue.
Mayor Mai Chaiyanit presided over the grand opening party for the Glory Hut’s new home on Soi Pornprapanimit 34 at Huay Tanoo-Tungklom 18. Pornsawan Khankaew, the foundation’s chairman, joyfully welcomed public officials, Rotarians and sponsors who spent the past three years helping raise the 10 million baht for Glory Hut to move.
In December 2014, residents of the Lang Nern Community voted 131-30 to evict the hospice on Soi Chaiyapornwithi 29, claiming that having AIDS patients in their backyard posed both a safety risk for children and lowered their property values.
“People who claim that they can live together with people infected with AIDS should come here to experience it for themselves,” said then-Lang Nern Community President Jitlada Weluwan, who acknowledged that neighboring community groups “are now looking at us like we’re beasts.”
Nearby residents also claimed they saw ghosts of hospice patients that died.
Glory Hut moved to temporary quarters six months later as Nongprue leaders, community activists, celebrities, expats and local Rotary clubs began the task of raising 10 million baht to buy two rai of property and construct new buildings.
Mai said what put the fundraising effort over the top, however, was the work of famed AIDS activist and monk Alongkot Dikkapanyo, who led alms-giving ceremonies in November and December to raise funds for Glory Hut.
Luang Phu Alongkot, as he is known, is the abbot of Phra Baht Nam Phu Temple in Lopburi, which has been caring for AIDS patients since 1992 and filling the gap between government and private sectors in allowing HIV patients to die with dignity.
He brought his considerable reputation to bear with the goal of raising 500,000 baht. By the time his work was done Dec. 2, he’d raised 2.1 million baht.
The new facility can accommodate 30 patients each in sections segregated by sex. A second two-story building houses the cafeteria, kitchen and staff accommodations.