The girls, scantily clad, are positioned like cheap goods outside one bar after another. This was one of the first impressions to hit the eight-member team of young adults who went with Hans Heidelberger to Thailand on a two-week discovery trip. They found themselves in Patpong, one of Bangkok’s red-light districts. The girls being offered to customers were, at most, just barely at the age of consent. Nearly none of them went into prostitution of their own free will. All of them are under pressure to feed themselves and their families. Status symbols are gaining significance in Thailand, tempting some parents to sell their daughters into the sex industry in hopes of coming to fast money.
The focal point of this trip was the 10-day visit to the Home of Blessing. The team spent over a week with the girls from the Girls Care project. The day began at 5.30 a.m. with morning devotions and ended with helping the girls with their homework in the evening. This left the German team with lasting, deep impressions. When did they last have a week with so much laughing, singing, games and relaxation?
A high point of the ten days was the youth camp at the end, with a series of workshops and games and run by the German team. But the trip wouldn’t have been complete without a meal at a shrimp farm, a boat trip followed by an elephant ride, visits to two schools, a genuine Thai massage and a walk through the night bazaar in Chiang Mai!
The team found so many things interesting in this foreign culture. There was such a lot to discover on the “Discovery Trip”. Not the least of which was to realise that so many things in our affluent society are unnecessary to live a satisfying life – the girls at the Home of Blessing are a living example of that!