Friday, January 15, 2010

Part 1: Thailand

Even though I was in Thailand a couple of months ago, this visit was completely different.

I was in a different part of the country (Buri Ram, in the east) and this time I was there to volunteer. We arrived at Tree of Life Orphanage on Christmas Eve, just in time for a wonderful homemade dinner with everyone.

I took several pictures that evening of the kids opening presents after dinner and photos of the orphanage owners -- Roger and his wife Phongsi -- who all 15 kids call Dad and Mom. Instead of being in an orphanage, the whole time I felt like I was just doing a home stay with a really big family.

Although I took lots of pictures, I unfortunately left my camera in a taxi in Cambodia and was unable to get it back. So in addition to losing my camera, I also lost all the pictures I took in Thailand. I'm still bummed about it.

But I'm glad I have Kristen's and Jarlath's photos from the trip and can share those with you...

Christmas caroling with people from church.

On Christmas Day, we went to a local school where Roger dressed up as Santa. (Thailand is a Buddhist country, so school was in session.) After the children did a dance presentation for us, we gave each child two small Christmas gifts -- toys that had been donated from churches in America.

That evening, we went to a small Christian church, where six of the girls from Tree of Life Orphanage (TOLO) danced in a Christmas program...

We really enjoyed getting to know the kids at TOLO, who kept us constantly entertained. With only two boys, it's almost a completely female place. Some of the girls are teenagers who we didn't see very much because they were working or at school.

Kristen with Eileen, Dtoy and Taan.

Taan is such a character!

Hey, Fern, those sunglasses sure do look familiar...

Besides being there to love on the kids, we were also at TOLO to work. Our project was to reorganize the library...

We sure made a mess of it in the process.


It took us a couple of days to get straightened out, especially because we had the kids with us. They tried to help, bless their hearts, but were really good at distracting us!

One day while the kids were in school, Roger and Phongsi took us to an elephant show, a snake show and an area where silk is made....

So impressive! I think that's a better tree than what I could paint, haha. Later on in the show, I got to ride on the elephant's trunk, and I also got an elephant "massage."

This was scary! Even scarier was when I had a snake wrapped around my neck for a few seconds, yikes!

We saw some beautiful silk being made, and each of us bought a silk scarf.

I really enjoyed the day we spent sightseeing. Unfortunately, another entire day in Buri Ram was spent in bed with food poisoning. Not enjoyable at all, to say the least. The culprit?...

We believe it was the coconut milk (the evil liquid in the plastic bag) that came with this mango & rice combo we got from a street vendor. Tragic. If you remember, this was my favorite Thai food. I'm afraid it was my idea for the three of us to eat this. Poor Jarlath and Kristen can't even look at this picture without gagging.

All three of us hated the fact that we were at the orphanage to serve, but were confined to bed all day, moaning and vomiting. The good news is that it was just for one day, and we bounced back the next day, ready to go.

I guess you have to take the bad along with the good. That's life.

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Click here to check out my post in "Keep Shining."

1 comment:

Lauren said...

It looks like you had a blast!!! I am glad you still had a great Christmas even though you were away from you family!