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ORPHANAGE

One more thing ...  

This story about the orphanage in Pattaya was sent to us by Gary, an ex tour member of ours now living in Pattaya Thailand.
Please read:

Her beautiful large brown eyes look longingly down the street as her eight year old friend rides by on a shiny red bicycle. Her friend has a mother and father who care about her but Nok has no parents and little hope, as she lives with 34 other small children in the Baan Jing Jang Orphanage in Pattaya, Thailand.  Baan Jing Jang has a staff of only four volunteer adults who oversee and feed the 35 children who live in two houses opposite each other on a narrow Soi off a busy country road. Funding is scarce; aside from the contributions of two foreign organizations and a token amount from the Thai Government, these children rely on the generosity of the local neighbors and visiting strangers.

Hunger is a constant companion. Only one generous meal a week is served on Saturday afternoon, with token meals of rice and fruit when they return daily from the local school.  At night, they sleep side by side on mats on the concrete floor, closely packed together, and their faded clothes hang on a line around the outside patio where they eat their meals.  Their sole antiquated TV set is out for repair and has been for months. Their one decade old donated computer is sought after by each child and available for only minutes at a time. There is a shower available but the few clean towels result in cold wet ones for most of the younger children.  Hand me down clothes are a luxury and are stored in cracked plastic drawers and cardboard boxes along the wall. 

Despite these few amenities, the children laugh and play together but each misses the hugs and attention of people who really care for them.  A few Thai Baht, almost nothing to us, make their life brighter and provide them the basic essentials.  The cup on the bathroom sink holds six very used toothbrushes that are shared by all, with a swipe of the well used bar of hand soap.  Shampoo is a  luxury and carefully rationed, and their soft black hair is scrubbed with a bar of common soap. Laundry detergent is carefully measured and the muddy clothes rarely come out clean.

I discovered the orphanage with my Thai teacher, "Chu", who brought me for my first visit six years ago.  Chu donates her time each Saturday afternoon to cook the promised meal and bring groceries bought with her own money, earned at $5 an hour teaching visiting Farangs to speak Thai. The children were gathered in a group waiting for our arrival and all smiles and excitement when we drove up.  Little girls sprang at me and hugged my legs as I carried in the paper bags.  The small two burner rusty gas stove was already warming up and the two teen-aged Thais on staff immediately begin chopping onions and garlic and splitting the small sausages.  The children danced around expectantly and took turns helping to prepare the feast. One group unstacked the flimsy tables and carefully stacked the plastic plates and thin tin silverware. Excitement was prevalent and when I unpacked the small bags of kanom (snacks) that I had brought along and I was surrounded by smiling eager faces. 

A little boy stood apart from the group and stared at the empty muddy lot next door. I asked a worker why he was alone and was told that he was an aggresive youngster and often struck the other children; therefore they shunned him and he played alone with his small black birthmark prevelant over one eye and his obviously crooked teeth. I went over and put my arm on his shoulder and he responded with a big smile, then shyly tightened his lips back together and gave me a prayer like wye. I led him over to the rest of the children, gave him a bag of chips, and tried to involve him with the group. I could see his rejection and could feel his hurt and dismay. 

Two other little boys had drawn a checkerboard in the dirt and were playing checkers using bottle caps as tokens. A beautiful little girl about three, followed me around and begged to be picked up.

There is an empty lot adjcent to the orphange where the kids play soccer football and which could be used as a playground but for the lack of funds to purchase the equipment.

I have started a committee in the Expats Club that provides some funding to try and help these lonely children and make their life a little easier. More volunteer workers are needed and certainly more funds to purchase the basic necessities like soap and shampoo. It is sad that we as guests in Thailand have so much while these children make do with so little. No little dolls and few toys for the younger ones and only one faded bike to share among the older group. 

A group of us have organized a monthly weekend outing where we load the children in the back of our pickups and visit the local water park and open air zoo. Their eager faces and heads bowed with respect deserve a little more out of life.

We take in life a lot and there are times we need to give back a little. These children pretty much need everything that most of us take for granted: clothes (new or used), tooth brushes, tooth paste, soap, combs, brushes, mirrors, and school supplies. 

They also need thin foam mats to go under their sleeping mats on the concrete floor. They do not have beds and roll up their mats because they need the space during the day. The children would also appreciate any special items to make them a little bit happier like toys, candy, and good food.

We hope this story touched you as much as it did us. In actuality there are 54 kids aged from infant to 10 years of age and they need EVERYTHING.

We are hoping that when you go on our tours that you will also be willing to help the orphanage out. If you wish you can even help in handing things out while there.

Please let us know if you wish to help out, but do NOT just go ahead and get items without checking with us first. We can coordinate things so that there is no duplication of items. Even if you can not make our tour this time and just want to help out the orphanage, you are more than welcome. Please contact us.

Life is not just about taking, but also giving and believe me it will make you feel good aiding the orphanage. We would like to thank you in advance for helping out such a worthwhile cause.


Thanks for your help,
Gunter



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My name is Gunter