So our day started bright and early with a 4.30 wake up and a flight from Bangkok to Ubonrachatani in the north.
Our group had been looking forward to heading to the Home Hug orphanage as the highlight of the visit.
For most who’d visited before, it was to rekindle relationships with the children and the beautiful Mae Thiew who has been looking after children for 40 years in her local community.
Many years ago, Mae Thiew was moved by the conditions of those in the hill tribes and seeing families sell their children to traffickers for money.
She sold everything and moved to the north, buying land and fiercely protecting the children who came into her care.
Times weren’t always easy and some days she needed to decide whether children needed medicine or food. Awful choices to have to make with many children dying.
Since Hands Across the Water partnered with the orphanage, no children have died.
And so we met the gorgeous children who live under the loving care and protection of Mae Thiew.
Our role at the orphanage was to paint the new wall out the front of Home hug to make it into a welcoming place, help remove the stigma associated with the children, some of whom have HIV and be a highlight for those coming to visit.
We were shown a great video of the amazing ability of art to bring together a community – watch the Ted Talk here.
We then collaborated, came up with different plans and the children chose their favourite, incorporating many ideas into what they’d like.
We eventually settled on a child weilding a ribbon to mirror the saffron colours of Mae Thiew’s robe, green for grass underneath with white handprints of those who’ve visited and blue sky above full of music, love and the bikes for the fantastic riders who every year raise so much for the work Hands do.
We learnt beautiful lessons on resilience and determination from this quiet and steel willed monk.
We drank in the smiles and relished holding hands and exploring the property with the children who taught us that acceptance, tolerance and happiness were still options despite adversity.
An amazing and moving day once again on day 2 of our Social Venture Program…