Summarized by Rosemary Pollock
LDS Woman Teaching Massage Brings Self-Reliance to Thai Village
MESA, ARIZONA -- Winnie Cain, a Mesa woman and member of the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will travel to the northern
mountains of Thailand to the village of Mae Suai where she will
provide a 60-hour course of Thai massage. Cain, a message therapist,
has been coming to this area since 1992 and has pledged to help the
village women overcome poverty and poor educations. "I've started to
help them, and I'm not a person who doesn't finish," she said.
"These children cannot be driven to school. Many of these teenage
village girls live in family homes outside the villages," Cain said.
"The people mostly don't have cars or the people to drive them."
"They need somewhere to stay during the week so they can just walk to
Cain's sees the purpose of a high school-type education as an
opportunity to build self-reliance. A dam will soon be built and the
areas culture will change. Without education, the young girls of the
village are often forced to seek work in southern Thailand where
there is a high demand for prostitution. Currently villagers are
starting to produce and market men and women's clothing.
Learning the traditional native language of Thai is essential for
them to get certificates of nationality. "They also need to learn
women's rights," Cain said. She originally thought she would learn
traditional Thai massage from the women of the village. "The women
told me that I knew more than they did. So I started giving them
Last year, two Phoenix women joined Cain on her first tour. With the
help of others Cain has been able to donate $2,000 to the school
project. Cain is also looking for Americans who are willing to devote
time and expertise to the project. She currently has enough supplies
to fill her two 70-pound suitcases. The LDS church is donating a
year's supply of cotton thread for the weaving of ethnic designs.
Mesa therapist rubs Thais right
(Phoenix) AZ Republic 19Sep00 P2
By Roberta Burnett: Special for The Republic