We planned it out, we carried it out... we even bought the t-shirts! Yes, The Love Thailand Mission Team successfully accomplished what we set out to do. It took months of preparation and support, and after a short rest we're back to the drawing board again, planning for the next trip.
Before we go too far ahead of ourselves, we want to share with you exactly what happened, or as they say on the streets "what went down".
So, this is what happened
In July 2010, a Bristol-based group of 19 went on a mission trip to Thailand to serve a poor, abandoned, marginalised, and afflicted community.
During our time in Thailand we stayed at Care Corner Orphanage (CCO) in Chiang Mai. CCO house over 60 children, who have come from all walks of life. Many of the children have lost both parents due to various reasons, including death from AIDS and poverty. Some children have simply been abandoned because their parents could not afford to feed them. 14 of these children are either HIV positive or have AIDS. Without CCO, these children would not have the hope that they do have now. They are all provided with education and have a comfortable place to live and eat, and more importantly, their inner needs are met by the hardworking and loving pastors, whom give up their time and normal daily jobs to care and love these orphaned children, as if they were their own. Whilst we were there, we played games and taught the children songs with actions. We also told them stories, ate with them and told them how special they are. We just wanted to love them.
The orphanage was one of the causes that we, and others who supported the trip, worked hard to fundraise for. This helped them to maintain the good work they carry out on a daily basis and to take in new orphans whenever there is a need. We also used the money to buy bricks and cement to lay a new pathway at the orphanage. We manually laid it ourselves and it was beautiful teamwork.
We also provided a medical clinic for the residents of the nearby village, including elderly folks with various illnesses. Access to doctors and medicine is not as simple for these people as it is here in the UK, where we just have to call in to our doctor’s surgery and make an appointment. The lack of social welfare in Thailand often means that people are restricted from being able to see a doctor easily. We were happy to provide them the access they needed. Our qualified doctors prescribed patients with medicine. Shortly after the clinic sessions, we also made home visits the some of the patients. We bought them gifts of eggs and spent time chatting and getting to know them. They were delighted with the company.
One of our major focuses for this trip was to bring help and aid to the Karen tribe refugee settlement. We spent 3 days and 2 nights with them in the mountains where they live. They have fled from Myanmar where they were being afflicted by the government. Some of the refugees there have family members who have been killed or tortured in war. Women and young girls have been raped at tortured too.
These refugees are fortunately away from the danger but, they do not have much. They live in huts and the mountain community is still very under developed. There isn’t any clean water or electricity.
We brought a water purification system over and installed it at the Karen children home so that the children can have clean water to drink.
The Karen village has one school where the children have a hope of getting some education. We did outreach work, playing games and teachng them songs. We also gave them some English lessons, whilst also sharing with them interesting things about England.
Because there is only one school in the mountains, many of the children have to walk a long distance to get to this school. Because of this, many children can’t come to the school. Through the fundraising we did before the trip, we managed to raise enough money to fund 100% towards a building project to house up to 50 children, nearby to the school. This will ensure that the children can attend school and be fed three times a day at this home. Some of the children normally only manage to have one meagre meal a day due to the immense poverty they face. We also bought mattresses, blankets, pillows, towels and mosquito nets for this home. The mosquito nets are essential as the risk of death from malaria passed through mosquito bites is high. We provided 900kg of rice too.
As part of the work towards the building of this home, we manually transported the wood to be used to build the frame of this house from the nearby jungle. The locals will undertake the completion of building this home, due to the limited time and resources of our team. This new Karen children’s home is an extension of Care Corner Orphanage: CCO will support the salary of the staff and also to raise sponsorship for the Karen children. We hope to raise awareness and help get sponsors for these children. Sponsoring one child will cost £20 a month. We also bought a number of books translated for the Karen children.
To summarise in short...
- Built new Karen Home to house 50 children
- 900kg rice for the children's home
- Mosquito nets
- Furnishing - Mattresses, Blankets, pillows for every child
- Towels for every child
- Bought materials & build a walkway at the Orphanage & donation to CCO
- Water purification system for the children's home as they do not have running clean water
- Took all children and staff at the orphanage for a Korean BBQ
- Provided Mobile Clinic and Medical supplies
- 438 children bibles in Karen language
- It was a joy to see the well that we built in 2008 was so useful to the Karens.
We're at the early stages of planning another trip for next year. Firstly though, we're going to continue to hold fundraising events and raise awareness of this cause. Stay tuned to the website in the coming weeks and months.