Khao Samyot Wat Phrabat Nampu AIDS Memorial since 1 July 1992
without names
Wat Phra Bat Nam Pu Temple
The temple, which is built at the foot of a small mountain in Lopburi, 150 kilometers north of Bangkok, is home to 550 patients, including 140 children. Its founder is Alongkot Dikkapanyo, a 53-year-old Buddhist monk. The idea of turning a temple into an AIDS hospice started in 1990 when two young HIV-positive men came to Wat Phra Baht Nam Phu, which means in Thai "the temple of Buddha's footprints."
Some families left patients at the temple and never saw them again. But many patients came by themselves, even with their children, saying they had no other places to go. Most men got HIV from prostitutes, while many women were infected from their boyfriends and husbands.
Around 10 to 15 patients die each month, and the temple, which has its own incinerator, cremated more than 10,000 bodies since 1992. Even after death, most families don't come to pick up the ashes. At present there are thousands of white cotton bags containing bones and ashes of AIDS patients around a brown Buddha statue at the temple.
Photo © Luca Catalano Gonzaga

30 November 2009
Luca Catalano Gonzaga, Italy