Many of the children arriving at BaanGerda are in a poor physical and mental state, and it can take several months before we see any noticeable improvements. This is just a small selection of the typical stories we experience.
When Oy lost his mother to AIDS, he was taken to a temple hospice by his father, who was also dying from the disease and unable to care for him. He was eventually brought to BaanGerda in a very serious condition - his CD4 count was just 1% and his weight at 4 years of age, a measly six kilos. He was suffering from TB, oral candidiasis, bad diarrhea and frequent vomiting.
Worse still, Oy had given up on life. He was emotionally disturbed and unable to communicate. Even after 6 months of treatment, his condition had barely improved and CD4 count remained the same. We were very concerned. Suddenly, after about 8 months he began to fight and put on weight. He smiled for the first time and his progress since then has been steady. Although he is a loner, Oy happily plays like any normal child and we are confident he will continue to develop emotionally and physically.
In 2005, Dr Jintanat discovered three gravely sick HIV orphans who had not been receiving any treatment or care. Quite simply, she said they were going to die unless BaanGerda could do something. We immediately agreed to take the children but unfortunately, one of them died that same day before we could help.
Beng was one of the two remaining children and we took him to a nearby hospital where he stayed for treatment for approximately three weeks. He returned to BaanGerda and began his new life with his foster family, who loved and cared for him. Beng has responded well and is a very capable and intelligent boy who is always eager to learn.
Ning was the other child that was brought to BaanGerda by Dr Jintanat, along with Beng. She was extremely poorly and, as the picture below shows, her skin was particularly bad. She also stayed in hospital for about three weeks receiving treatment and being fed intravenously.
When she was introduced to her new family back in BaanGerda, she formed an immediate bond with her foster mother and her health gradually began to improve. Today, Ning is almost unrecognizable from when she first arrived and is a very happy and sociable girl.
Our nurses at BaanGerda occasionally visit a hospice, and it was here that they discovered Dokdek. When they first saw him he appeared to look fine and there was no cause for concern. When they returned after six months his health had dramatically deteriorated and he was rushed to a local hospital, where he was treated for numerous infections. We were able to find him a space at BaanGerda and he joined his new family after three weeks at the hospital.
Dokdek was still seriously ill, but with the support and love of his family and the nurses, he soon started to smile and regain his health. Unfortunately, he has a problem with his lung which is likely to affect his future. It is the same condition that cruelly took one of our children from us a few years ago. We can't make an accurate prognosis but we do everything to make sure that Dokdek is happy and enjoying his life.