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Fulfilling a Lifelong Dream, Part Two

By Bill Devereux

January 16, 2012

Before my volunteer work began I have been blessed with a great gift here in Thailand that I'm sure could not have been as great had it been in the Peace Corps or in any other volunteer organization. That gift has been meeting, getting to know and quickly coming to Love and deeply respect Carlton and the other inaugural volunteers from Canada, the United States and Malaysia. I am honored to serve in their company!

The blessings are now coming to me on a daily basis. I have met incredibly wonderful, dedicated, strong, resilient, relentless and somehow still sweet and gentle Thais in NGOs (non-governmental organizations) here who have given the people of Thailand affected by hiv/aids what I suspect is the greatest NGO in the world dedicated to anyone and everyone in this nation who has been affected by hiv/aids.

I have been further blessed by meeting the generous, kind, helpful and delightful Thais working at the guesthouse where we are staying, and Australians, Singaporeans, Americans and Thais working at Payap University here in Chiang Mai and in organizations they have themselves created, all dedicated to serving others and to making life healthier, longer and better for anyone fortunate enough to be touched by their grace.

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Somehow we have also found time to explore the fascinating city of Chiang Mai and the local mountains and Buddhist Temples, have a great deal of terrific Thai food, enjoy relaxing massages and do some very exciting white-water rafting. Also on the agenda before leaving Thailand is riding elephants and meeting pandas at the local zoo.

And now each of us embed ourselves into the local NGOs who have said they want Volunteer Positive to become an ongoing presence in their remarkable work. More volunteers will be needed by Volunteer Positive from all over the world to come to Chiang Mai in June 2012, November 2012 and for as long as the local NGOs want us.

I hope my story may inspire someone else with hiv or aids to show the world that people with hiv/aids are healthy, vital caregivers reaching out to anyone who wants or needs the Loving care we have to offer.

From Bill: I never capitalize aids or hiv; I do not want to give them any special power. What I do capitalize is Love.

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Volunteer Positive Reports From Field -- Chiang Mai, Thailand


Volunteer Positive

Volunteer Positive

A group of international volunteers made history in January 2012. They became the inaugural team of people living with HIV to serve openly as international volunteers in Chiang Mai, Thailand, as part of Volunteer Positive -- an international service agency created by and for people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.

"The absence of visible HIV-positive people in the field of international service has been deeply troubling to me," writes Carlton Rounds, founder of Volunteer Positive. "The modern face of HIV is like mine: ready, willing and able to serve internationally with few accommodation needs. In fact, my unique situation, if leveraged correctly, could potentially make me more relevant as a volunteer working with others affected by HIV."

Some of the organization's volunteers chose to share stories of this unique experience right here in this blog.

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