Sunday, Jan 29
Mac, our Thai Massage teacher has “adopted” a project, supporting a few poor families who live in the mountains and have children with special needs. He connected with a monk who introduced him to these families.
He raises moneys and purchases supplies (pampers, foods, and snacks) to bring up once a month. We were fortunate to be here with him this month and had a powerful experience visiting them yesterday.
We had a “caravan” of 3 cars and 10 people traveling. First we stopped in a roadside place to have an early noodle lunch ($20 fed us all). Then we took off for the hour drive up the steep and winding road up the mountain passing fields of rice, cows, and farmers using what we consider somewhat old tools.
The first stop was at the Monk’s home. He greeted us and offered us a prayer session. Afterwards we were invited to each ask him a few questions about our lives. He would answer and Mac would translate.
The next stop was at home #1. This 13-year old boy had an illness when he was younger and couldn’t get medical help quickly enough. Since then he can’t move and needs his parents’ help 24 hrs/day. The home they live in a small wooden shack with ancient cooking bowls. We were taken by how clean his parents keep him in this living condition. His mother looked sad and tired the entire time we were there and the father who was feeding the boy through a tube smiled, showing appreciation. Annie fell into her automatic-pilot hospital fairy mode – sitting next to him, rubbing his arm, complimenting him and his parents and singing to them in her “angel” persona (her words were in English of course… so they could just enjoy the comforting tones of her voice. I took out balloons and built a house and puppet hanging over him. Then the group with us presented them with some boxes of pampers, food, snacks, and an envelope of money… and we left.
Looking at this space with no lights Annie thought the photos would come out dark…. but after taking the shots, we were surprised by what seemed to be spot-lights on the boy, his father, and the monk (no photoshop or photo adjustments).
On the way out we passed some of their pigs
Just before we got in the cars to get to our next family we passed some other kids who live in that village, so out came the balloons again –
We visited two additional houses. One of them had 4 kids… the other two (and 3 kids came over from next door). Two of the people who came with us on this trip were from Mac’s classes from last month… one from Argentina and one from Italy. Rod (it’s easier for us to call him that shortened version of his name) joined in a sword fight with two of the kids –
Then we went to see a new monument of Ganesh (the elephant god of good luck). The artist (posing with Annie) has been working on this incredible statue (a 7-headed Ganesh) for about 6 months (we thought it would take him years?)
(this is the backside of the statue).
Around the corner from the new statue is an old one-
It was a rewarding day…. showing us the beauty of the mountains, the life-style of these poor, but proud and hard-working farmers, and giving us a chance to bring some smiles and color with the balloons and our energies and be part of a group that’s bringing some financial and material aide to some families who really need it.
On the way home Mac brought us to a wonderful restaurant (it seems we haven’t been to a restaurant in a loooong time). It’s on an organic farm and serves wonderful large salads. That was a treat.