As any travel show illustrates, Thailand is an incredible and exotic destination and a hot spot of international tourism. But my experience in Thailand was quite different than what I saw on T.V. While wondering down the streets of Bangkok, I noticed a mother and child on the streets.
This small family was not begging or trying to get the attention of people passing by… they were just seeking shade under the cover of an out-of-service telephone booth. It was 38 degree Celsius, and as always, the humidity was stifling. As the mother slept, Phonget, a 1-year-old just beginning his life’s journey, sat cooing by his mother’s side on the Bangkok street. ‘What would his future be?’, I thought to myself. ‘Was there even a chance he would get a proper education?’. To look at him, he was like any other child, full of life and potential, but it was clear that the mother could not even afford diapers for the boy. As the mother stirred, I reached into my wallet, pulled out some bills and gave it to her.
Thailand has over 22 thousand millionaires, but over 8.2 million people. My thoughts today remain with Phonget as I hope that by some miracle he will have the opportunity to escape the streets of Bangkok and forge his own destiny.