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You never see a vacation like this advertised on the Holiday programs.

Four young Japanese people who have quite possibly had the direction of the lives change while on vacation.

Very hard work but so rewarding was there over all opinion.

If you would like to see the photo more clearly please just click on it.

It's hair cut time for young Ou you may remember him from my first story about the orphans at the flying club. In fact this young man is the reason I started helping out the Orphanage as I am doing. He was considered to have about another 3 weeks left with us last August have a look at him here then have a look at him a year ago in this story

I am sure that you can see the difference. A much fitter healthier young man no longer considered to be any where near his last days with us.

This is down to the medicines that your contributions have helped to provide, along with the loving care provided by Fr Giovanni and his helpers. Together we are helping re-new life with new hope for a future.

Before I went on my latest buying trip to China I made a visit to the Camillian center where Fr, Giovanni spends his life caring for Thai people suffering with HIV/AIDS.  On this occasion I found that a group of young Japanese people were there, in the main helping with the terminally ill adult patents. Reflecting on this while I was away, it struck me that this should be the subject of my next story.  So on 18th September 2004 I made another visit to the center to take a few photos and a well-hashed, most unprofessional interview with them before they return home to Japan on the 20th

There were two young men and two young ladies in the group, all Japanese catholics. Which in itself is something of a rarity, there being about 0.4% catholics in Japan as a whole. They have all spent the last three weeks of their summer holiday helping with the care of the poor souls who tragically are in the last stages of their lives due to this scourge in our modern society. 

You don't need any special qualifications too be a real help, what you do need is something that I know I don't have and that is real guts and fortitude. To get to know them and then watch them die.

My first interview was with Fiumiko Kawaguchi from Tokyo. She is a student of music and education and speaks near perfect English. Fiumiko, an extremely charming young lady, told me that at first she found the work very hard and was no doubt wondering just what she had signed up for, but very soon was overwhelmed by the charm of the Thai patients, both the adults and children that she was caring for. She found out about the center from her parish priest Fr, Nakashimo. She has found her vacation if you can call it that a life-changing experience, so was now sad to be on her way home in a few days. 

My second interview was with Masahito Magome from Nagasaki, who will graduate as a fully fledged priest in six more years. He told me he had decided to become a priest certainly in part because his father had been in the seminary as a young man before meeting his mother which changed his mind about that way of life. 

I next interviewed Tatsuya Nohama, also from Nagasaki, the second of the two young men. He is a broad chested, very strong looking young man who has chosen a life in the priest-hood, on leave from his seminary. As of now he has three more years of study before become fully ordained. He tells me that his ambition, on completing his studies, would be jumping at the chance of being assigned the same sort of mission as Fr Giovanni has. And in some part of the world where he can be of help to those who need it most. 

My last interview was with the other extremely charming young lady, Sachi Yoshimura, from Fukuoka, not far from Nagasaki I was informed. She is a student of psychology. Again she heard about the center through her local church. She told me that she has had a life-changing experience while here in Thailand and is also extremely sad to have to return home. 

The adults that end up in this bright cheerful ward that is in the same grounds as the orphanage are the real lucky ones they know they are near death but they get care and respect something that is very sadly lacking back in the village at home.

Only a few weeks ago I watched a documentary about the extent of knowledge in Japan of HIV/AIDs  and according to that young people there have very little knowledge about it at all. In this the authorities were giving free blood tests in some of the Tokyo discotheques in an effort to expand   young people’s knowledge and promote awareness of the necessity too protect against this diseases through the practice of safe, or at least safer, sex. These excellent young people today will, for sure, spread the knowledge of this when returning home. They also said that they were very much surprised by the amount of medicine and the very strict regime of treatment that all at the center receive.  

I had hoped to be able to make these interviews the day before, as my very good friend, Philip, had presented me on my return from China, a large plastic bag full of anti-viral HIV drugs which he had found among the positions of his friend in Bangkok who had recently died.   Fr, Giovanni was delighted to receive them telling me that their value in the west would be somewhere in the region of $2000.00USD and was likely to provide treatment for one of the adult patents for about 4 months. However that was not to be because the young Japanese were on a very well deserved day out from the center seeing some of the local tourist spots, their first day off since they had arrived.

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