Walking into the apartment complex for a post birth home visit in Chiang Mai, Thailand Maddie Tracey K’13 was initially concerned.
“She was living out of a really old apartment building and the conditions weren’t awesome,” Tracey said.
The family of five, a single mother and four children all under the age of six including a newborn, were living in a one-room apartment. On a counter there was a single burner, “it was cramped, and it was hot, and it was loud,” Tracey said. “But out of everything they were happy.”
For six months Tracey lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand apart of the Thailand Study Abroad program. During the six months the group took part in several different experiential learning expeditions.
“For a month we stayed with probably 12 different host families,” Tracey said. “Every other day we were hiking to a new village in the mountains, learning how they take care of their rainforests.”
For the final six weeks, students were required to participate in an internship in order to write their ICRP. Tracey worked at Nong Pa Krong hospital helping with prenatal checkups for expecting mothers and attending home visits with mothers and newborns.
“I was very thankful for those experiences because I was allowed to be in such an intimate part of a new mom and a new babies life,” Tracey said. “A lot of the babies I was with were nine or ten days old, I’ve never seen such early stages of life. ”
“My ICRP [Integrative Cultural Project] for that hospital was creating a breastfeeding education platform,” Tracey said. “Thailand has pretty low breast feeding rates, so that’s what the hospital asked me specifically to work on.”
Tracey was able to see the direct effects of her ICRP project while on a visit to a new mother’s home. Although she already had three other children the woman was interested in help with breastfeeding. Tracey recalled the feelings she experienced as the doctor handed the woman a brochure that Tracey had made for her ICRP.
“That made me really happy, it felt good that I could help this mom,” she said.
For six weeks Tracey attended countless home visits throughout the city. Although each family and situation was different she said one things always remained the same.
“They were extremely happy and thankful,” Tracey said. “That’s one thing I learned in Thailand the most, you can be happy no matter what your circumstances were.”