So on Friday, I went up to Chaing Rai- it was so good to be back and I miss everyone there so much already.
Blessing Home in Chaing Rai is where my first love for Thailand and my passion to work on human trafficking started. How does someone get “interested in human trafficking?” Well, for me, it was when I was 16- when my friend, Da was sold to be ‘married off’ somewhere. The issue of trafficking thus was not a major issue out there but in here. It was very much personal. Growing up alongside the Lahu people changed me life every single year that we went up there. They taught me how to love and life and hope- and I couldn’t help but think, Why do I, who is the same age as them, get to go to school, and WILL BE CERTAIN that I won’t be forced to marry someone or chose a life I didn’t want? It made me so furious just knowing life was so unfair.
Da was married when I was 16. She was 15 and we used to run out to the rice fields to play, jumping on hay stacks and then run back, exhausted but wide eyed. Da loved school and in Chaing Rai, you’re not allowed to study in public schools if you’re married.. I knew dropping out of school was devastating for her. So at 16 I became driven to understand how we can make lasting changes in communities, particularly on this issue of trafficking.
Just two days ago, back in Chaing Rai, I found out that another girl was sold – her name was Da too. She was beautiful and fair, and she was my sister, Meizhi’s best friend. My heart sank when I found out.
How do we change culture? Sometimes one incident like that can make you feel like a complete idiot for trying to change what has been inscribed in the history books of women selling their daughters for money. What can I do? What can we do? Maybe we have got to change the way we engage with those living at Blessing Home, to engage their families. If we can make a difference to one person, maybe our efforts are worth it?
How do we rewrite history but keep it’s richness?
More photos from the trip: https://meixi.wordpress.com/photography/chaing-rai-blessing-home/