I had heard about a small centre near Mabprachan Lake caring for adults living with HIV. My first exploration to discover the whereabouts of Ban Pak Rakpuan (known as The Glory Hut Foundation) ended in failure. A phone call to the centre asking for help resulted in a motor bike coming to my aid and leading me on to a small unmade path which I had passed many times previously, hidden between some trees. At the end of the path, a warm welcome was waiting as was a wooden hut which housed 10 residents that had HIV and some with TB.
But they were told they had to move. Fortunately, they found 3 small houses to rent which, thankfully, were easier to find, but soon became overcrowded to the extent that they had to erect tents outside the houses to accommodate everyone for their were now 40 residents. Pattaya Sports Club and friends purchased some bunk beds, which helped the situation, but further expansion was impossible. Being the only centre of its kind outside Bangkok, they were often asked to take in another resident or two but this was not possible. This situation did not sit well with Muay who is a caring lady and believed they should be in a position to help others in need.
Paul Strachan, TFI and Walter Bolf helped to pay for this house.
Something had to be done. They were continually looking for additional space and, as luck would have it, a gentleman of the church had a spare plot of land which he offered to Rakpuan at a very low rent, to use as they saw fit. Overgrown with years of non-use, the first step was to clear the site and discover exactly what they had. The possibilities quickly became obvious. They discovered more space than they could wish for and it even had a house which could be used as a church, office and store areas, and so the planning and hard work begins.
An overgrown area that needed a great deal of effort to clear.
Pattaya Sports Club, some good friends of PSC including the Growling Swan Bar in Pattaya, Nigel Oakes, Walter Bolf and TFI have donated considerable sums to the development of the site to fund the building of toilets, a kitchen, a sala and, with vivid imagination painted the houses with bright, cheerful colours, both big and small. The buildings were completed by volunteers, but mainly, the residents of Rakpuan and when you remember that they are living with HIV and are perhaps a little frail, the effort they put into developing the site is nothing short of amazing and they have not finished yet.
The first building is under way.
They moved onto the site during August and they will consider how many more residents they can accommodate to help with their problems. By living with others in a similar situation, their problems are shared and they support each other in times of stress.
If you feel that you would like and are able to help Rakpuan in any way, whether it is financial or a donation of clothes or other items, please contact William at PSC on 0861522754. Remember 500 baht can purchase 25 kilos of rice. Every little helps.
A 2 storied house is under construction.
A party is a must to open the centre.
The house built with thanks to Pattaya Sports Club.
The toilets are complete, thanks to Nigel Oakes.
The Growling Swan donated funds for the first house.