The Homeless in Khon Kaen

I went shopping downtown yesterday and saw many homeless people. All of the homeless people I have seen here are disabled. Most of them are missing limbs, but some are also blind. Thailand doesn’t have much of a social welfare program for disabled people (or anybody, for that matter). These people can’t work, and they probably don’t have families that can help them out. They tend to be in crowded areas like night markets and the downtown shopping areas. There is a bridge over a busy street that I walk across when I use the sorng tows. There are usually about 10 homeless people on the bridge. It is always heartbreaking for me to see them.

During my first week here I saw a man who was missing both of his legs. He did not have a wheelchair; he laid on his stomach and pulled himself around with his arms. He had a baby sitting on his back. That image really haunts me. Most people here are used to seeing this and it doesn’t seem to phase them. To me, it’s still so shocking. I feel really sad.

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