Thursday, March 29, 2018

Fun, Fun, Fun

As my time in Chiang Rai is coming to an end, I reflect on the wonderful days I was able to spend with the children and the family at Promise Home. With the exception of a day and a half adventure to Mae Salong where my friend Ann and I visited the Lisu Hill Tribe that cared for Wiwat and Wareerat before they came to the home, I spent all of my time at Promise Home.

I would arrive in the late morning and often times we had adventures planned for the day. It was not always fun and games, I did conduct some business but for the most part, it was simply having fun and spending time with the children...

March 21st I spent the day at Promise Home, playing games and finishing up a new video for Promise Home. It will be debuted at our annual Peace Meal dinner so, if you are around plan on attending that on June 9th. More on that to come. After the dinner, the video will be put on our website.

My 61st trip around the sun started in the morning with my dear friends at Le Patta Hotel surprising me with a card, flowers and a lovely scarf for my birthday. They are such kind people and I love staying here.

After that, I went to lunch with Ann to Akha Coffee and spent some wonderful time there. The coffee is wonderful and the cook is superb. The owner, Arthur grows and roasts his own coffee and when I went to purchase two bags for myself, he sweetly asked if I minded if he gave me one for my birthday..

After Akha Coffee, Ann and I wandered around the mall until it was time to go visit my great friends at Baan Noi and celebrate with 22 (24 if you count the owner and her daughter) of my dearest friends. I was treated like a queen with a huge and beautiful birthday cake.. dear Ngow cut a huge piece for me which I did not eat most of but the cake did not go to waste. Cake is a treat for the children and they took full advantage of being able to eat as much as they wanted. After all, that is what a special occasion is for, right? Such a lovely evening.

March 23rd and 24th Ann and I traveled to Doi Mae Salong and visited the Lisu Hill Tribe where I was surprised with yet another birthday cake. Such a sweet and generous gift from many who have so little. We were able to visit for a while and then I shopped for goodies from 6 of the village women who had set up their "stores" for me.

We spent the night at Little Home with our good friends there. The bungalows are as quaint and peaceful as ever and it is simply so relaxing. Unfortunately Jermsak and his daughter Swanya were not feeling well so we did not have too many adventures the following day. It was best to get them back to Chiang Rai city and let them go home and rest. I spent that evening at Promise Home and got to meet little Porjai, the daughter of a young woman I originally met at Bethany and who is working for Youth For Christ with Palita and Nittaya.

Went to a new church on the 25th, where the guest preacher talked far too long for my liking but I was able to see some old friends who attend church there. The afternoon and evening was spent with Promise Home. I went with the children to play soccer but only four other children showed up so there was no real game. The boys had fun kicking the balls and trying to score anyway. It was a hot afternoon so perhaps that is why no one came....

March 26th we went to Huay Mae Sai waterfall- one of the favorite places for the kids. It is an easy drive and now a much easier walk for mom to get to the falls. The kids has a blast as did Big....... It is a good thing that we went when we did as it is getting to be a very popular place now that the weather is getting hotter.

March 27th we went to Mae Kok river by the  original Promise Home (which is now a restaurant by the way) and swam for a bit. It is getting hotter so swimming and waterfalls are the places to be.. Soon it will be Songkran (The Thai New Year where you celebrate by dousing people with water for 3 days) and the waterfalls and rivers will be packed. So glad we went when we did.

March 28th was a simple day of doing chores at the home. Big had to go get supplies for a church camp at Big C and Fon is helping her brother prepare for his wedding on March 31st. But the day ended with a trip to watch Chiang Rai United play football. We sat is one of the major cheering sections and Promise Home did well in cheering them on. Unfortunately, they did not win but it was a fun evening anyway.

My last full day included lunch with my friend Ann then spending the afternoon and evening with Promise Home. We just relaxed, out of the sun and played card games after all of the children and family indulged mom and got their pictures taken with her. Our last evening out was spent at Hungry Wolf's a local restaurant that serves Western food and which was the choice of the children. They ordered two of the large pizzas and Coke. After pizza, they had all made sure to save enough room for ice cream. The owners of the location are some more good friends of mine and I am glad to see their larger and much more comfortable location. They are getting ready to close for a one month holiday so once again our timing was perfect. A truly special evening with the family and friends.

After Easter, all  of the children will go home to their villages to spend time with family. Big and Fon along with their family will have a chance for a break and relax on their own.

So there you have the Reader's Digest version of my time here. It was filled with laughter, fun, hugs, kisses and most of all, love!!!!! I will give an update on each child once I return home. But suffice to say, they are happy, healthy, polite, caring, well fed and absolutely thriving. They fill my heart with tremendous joy and happiness. I am so proud of the people they are growing into and can't wait to see what the future holds for each and every one of them.

Thanks for following along.

Till next time......

God Bless,
Heather and the family at Promise Home

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Adventures of days 2 and 3.....

Well it certainly has been a busy and adventure filled first three days of my visit to Promise Home.

Sunday is always church of course so we all went to Bethany Church except for Big. He has been taking online courses so he can finish high school and Sunday was when all of his in person testing was done. When I talked to him yesterday, he said that he was confident he did well in all of the tests except he was not so sure of math. Being a person who struggled with certain math in high school, I could most definitely empathize with him. That aside, I am extremely proud of his initiative and drive to finish high school. He is an excellent example for the children in regards to the importance of education. He is the driving force behind their being sent to better schools and he continues to watch their progress closely.

Sunday afternoon was spent with my friend Ann and just relaxing before heading to Jermsak and Da's house for dinner. Even after telling both Jermsak and Da I had been on a diet and that they shouldn't make too much food, there was far too much. They are both such gracious and caring people it was hard to refuse their generosity. It as truly delicious as well. Their daughter, Swanya grows taller and taller each time I see her. And what is most impressive is that her English is starting to show great improvement as well. She is working with her father and his tour guide business this school vacation and this is giving her the opportunity to learn and practice more English.  She is getting to be quite beautiful as well.

Ann, Swanya, Jermsak, me and Da
Monday arrived and I spent the entire day with the family at Promise Home. On Saturday, Big and I had been talking about the bamboo cover he built over the dishwashing area. I remarked that it was really nice and asked him how it had been working. He told me that it worked well but because it was bamboo, he needed to replace it every year. I mentioned that perhaps we needed to look into a more permanent solution and left it at that. When I arrived on Monday, turns out Big had talked to the landlord and he received 4 pieces of tin they use for roofing here and the family had already started clearing the area for the new cover. He told me that he and I would go shopping and if the support poles and cross beams were too expensive, we would stop and just leave it as it was. We also needed to get one more piece of tin and screws to attach the roofing with. Again, he said we would stop if it was too expensive. Turns out it was not too expensive and I purchased the remaining supplies and the project for the day was to get the new covering completed by nightfall. Everyone pitched in to help except for the youngest girls and by everyone, I also mean me. Much to the chagrin of the family, I was there to pitch in to help. I helped hold the poles in place, checking to be sure they remained level, held the poles and beams as Big used the saw to measure and cut them and finally, sweep up all the debris from the old roof when the project was done. Three different people tried to take my broom away from me and I strongly refused to let them have it.......

The roof turned out so nicely and now it will be there for as long as we have Promise Home. And that looks like it will be quite a long time based on a conversation with the wife of the landlord. Pending approval of our board, we can have Promise Home for the next 7 years at least. 

The original covering 
Holes dug for the new support poles 


Big and Teeladet measuring the area

Cutting the support poles 

Nittaya mixing the sand and concrete 

Palita and Nom adding the water to the concrete

Tin helping pour concrete for the poles

Teerladet pouring concrete in the holes

Support poles and beams in place- tearing down the old roof

Palita holding the ladder and getting covered with debris as Big tears down the old roof

The old roof is carried away

Old roofing gone 

Installing the new roof

The finished roof
It looks like the new roof is going to work out extremely well and it will be there for the long haul.

Yesterday was a day of fun and adventure- Palita, Nittaya and Nom all had to attend a meeting of their Youth For Christ group at Singha Park so the rest of us went out for the day. 

We started the day by having to take the washing machine to Teerladet and Wandi's father because Big thought there was something wrong with the electrical cord. Their father was injured a couple of years back and is now in a wheelchair but he went to school to learn how to fix electronics and has opened his own business in his village. I was able to see him for the first time since we originally met and he looks very good. The children were happy to see him. 

After dropping off the washing machine we headed off to the hot springs in near by Raummit. The children excitedly headed to the water only to discover it was far too hot for their liking. They all toughed it out for a while but they certainly did not enjoy it for a longer period of time.

After the hot springs Big took us to the Huay Kaew Waterfall up in the hills outside of the hot springs. I had never been to this particular waterfall and I love being able to go to new places with the children. I found that I was able to make the trek up the trail much easier (even in sandals) but there were still some very steep places. Big and all of the kids were so kind, offering me their hands to steady me and ensure I did not fall. I will be sure to wear different sandals next time. The waterfall is absolutely beautiful and the pond at the bottom was just perfect for the kids to swim in. This time they were in heaven even though I would have considered the water far too cold to swim in. We spent about an hour there and then headed back to Promise Home. First we stopped for lunch of Bar-B-Que chicken, sticky rice, and papaya salad..... Oh so delicious. 

After returning to Promise Home, we all rested for about an hour and much to my surprise, I fell asleep on the couch. Once we woke up it was off to Singha Park to try to fly the kites I had given them and pick up the older girls. There was a slight breeze but not enough wind to keep the kites in the air and so the children had to keep running to keep them flying. This lasted about 30 minutes or so in the hot afternoon sun- When the kids were done, they were done. I must say, I was completely drained as well. Sorry no pictures of this adventure. I could not keep running after them in the hot, hot sun. We went back home for dinner and I could hardly stay awake. The first couple of days here were not too hot but it is now starting to get hotter and hotter. The heat is not very inviting for afternoon activities outside. 

I stayed for dinner and then headed back to my hotel as I was completely drained and could barely stay awake. Going to head to the house today to work on some projects with Big and the kids and just spend time with everyone. Big is meeting with the teachers at Tin and Teerladet's school today to get their grades so I am excited to report on that. 

Thanks for following along. Till next time.... 

God Bless,


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