Monday, July 12th
Today we woke up early and had breakfast with the kids. It was our last time, because we would be traveling to Phrae after the kids go off to school. I sat with Woot and his gang.
Every few minutes he was pointing the the pocket on my capris and saying something in Thai. I didn't understand the words he was saying, but I kept telling him that my pocket was empty. He was very insistent. (Just like when he told me there was a snake under my chair yesterday...and there really was!) Finally I decided to show him that my pocket was empty. I put my hand in my pocket and pulled out a little picture of Woot in his school uniform. He hid it in my pocket when I wasn't looking! On the back he wrote his name and "I love Tiff". I am really going to miss this kid!
I went back to the little boys house with them and sat in the school room as they recited all the posters on the wall. Days of the week, months of the year, English & Thai alphabet, numbers 1 - 100, and multiplication tables, all in English and Thai.
They prayed with Aon, their house mother, and then they got their backpacks and snack and headed out the door. We held hands and walked to the the school. (When I say "we" I mean me and all 12 little boys who lived in that house! I seriously needed more hands!)
Kids were coming up and giving me all kinds of little presents. Cards they made, school papers they got good grades on, little oragami papers and fans. They are all so sweet. Jeerawat and Dtoi gave me cards also. I could barely hold back the tears.
Woot, Santee, Jeerawat and Dtoi gave me one more hug and then headed up the path to school. At the last moment Woot turned around to wave before he turned the corner. I waved back and wished we didn't have to leave today.
After all the kids made their way to school we said goodbye to all the Thai and Australian volunteers and loaded up in the mini-busses for our trip to Phrae.
Phrae is a couple hours away from Phetchabun. We stopped half-way to have some lunch at a mall. Pad Thai - my absolute favorite! Maia and I surprised Jain by eating it "Thai Style" with fish sauce, chili's, peanuts, sugar and chopsticks.
We continued our drive to Phrae. I couldn't believe it when we got there. It looked so different! When I was here five years ago they were pouring cement and cutting down trees. It was still a dream that was just getting started. Now they had houses, a kitchen and dining room area, a laundry area, volunteer houses, two playground areas and a little swimming pool. Right now Ban Meata Phrae is only housing babies and toddlers. The oldest one they have right now is four years old. They are hoping to get a few more babies soon.
John and Sharon(Rob Dunk's daughter) gave us the history of Ban Meata Phrae and some dreams of what they want it to become. We split into two teams to accomplish more while we are here. The first team went to the local hospital to deliver care packages to the new mothers for their babies. Ban Meata likes to keep a good relationship with the hospitals so that if any mother decides she doesn't want or can't keep her baby the hospital staff can contact Sharon. The team was able to talk to the new mothers, deliver the care packages, and even see the new babies that were just born.
The second team began painting the first coat of bright orange paint on the fence around the swimming pool.
Jeremy went with John to town to get plants and fruit trees for the guys to plant tomorrow. They got so many! Again, a goal of Ban Meata is to be self-sufficient, so they have ponds full of fish and want to be able to have as many fruit trees as they can. They will eat the fruit and sell some at the markets.
For dinner we had Masaman Curry. It was so good!
A group of us went for a walk after dinner to Jain's house. It got dark very quickly. As we were walking I put my hand in my pocket, felt the little picture of Woot and smiled. A few hours away is a little boy that I love very much.