This morning I had a lovely breakfast with Karen Christians friend Elena. A the story goes, they met at Burning Man one dusty evening and bonded over a shared love of this country. Elena has done a lot of traveling in her day and has made Thailand her home for several years, after being lured to Chiang Mai on a not-very-well-thought-out scam, centered around a fictional teaching position, from which she lost nothing and gained a new life. I learned a lot from Elena about what it’s like to live here for an extended period of time. She is fluent in Thai, and earned a “student of the year” award from the government her first year in Thailand for being so dedicated to her studies.
She told me an interesting fact about the Thai prison system and vocational opportunities for women. As a reward for good behavior female inmates at the prison in Chiang Mai are taught Thai massage. After completing a 180 hour course these women perform Thai massage at locations around the city and at a spa located on premises at the prison.
The Lila Thai Massage program was created by the former Director of the woman’s prison here in Chiang Mai as an effort toward “bridging the gap between a non accepting public, and the problems released inmates encounter adapting to a new community.” If they work at Lila, inmates are brought to work in the morning at brought back to the prison in the evening. They are paid for their services and are allowed to keep any tips they earn. In this way, women are able to save enough money to open their own Spas after they are released, and thus have a very low recidivism rate. Cool right?!
Anyway, back at Makerspace we spent the day preparing the space for the CNN International crew who are coming tomorrow to Makerspace, and on Sunday to Woodcarving Village. Finished polishing the new anvil and hammers and helped clean and organize. When the work was done and we were all closed up I took the opportunity to get my first Thai massage, and it was awesome! Why didn’t anyone tell me how much better Thai massage is than the watered down versions of massage that we get in the States? I mean I could not have imagined how many ways are there to make a leg feel great! I slept great and I’m hooked.