Monday, 25 January 2010
January 24th 2010
Left the comfort of the hotel in a mega rainstorm. The car aquaplaned its way out of Bangkok - don't seem to do storm drains here, water was up to six inches deep in places. Was just praying that the brakes weren't being affected.
Arrived at Fr Ray foundation two hours later. Sun shining and lush green vegetation in the grounds. Shown up to my room - no dormitory,but single room ensuite! Assume this was one of the original buildings of the Redemptorist monastery as the room is very cell like with a very small window, but does have air conditioning! No flushing toilet though and the shower is just a hose pipe - I'll be wondering why I need so much space when I return home.
Arranged to meet up with one of the volunteers who had offered to show me round the complex, but another deluge prohibited this. Prepared to settle down in lounge with a book when Denis, the assistant director and Redemptorist brother asked if I'd like to go with him to visit the children's village.This is situated just on the outskirts of Pattaya and will eventually be a complex of 20 houses. At the moment just 4 houses are up and running. Each contains 7 or 8 children with a housemother. Much better than a large institution. 6 more houses are almost ready to open and work will soon begin on the other 10.The stories of the children is heart wrenching.Some, as young as 3, were literally found abandoned on the streets. Others are there because parents have died of HIV, or are drug addicts.
The idea of putting the children in small units is great. It has a real feeling of family and the children look out for each other. The older children have lists of chores to do and the rooms are spotless.And all this funded through donations.
Denis then invited me out to dinner with some of the full time staff ( all Brits ) and a couple of visitors who had come to see the children they are sponsoring.
Humidity is high and will take a lot of getting used to, but now and again you catch a gentle breeze. So it's off to bed at 10pm. Looking forward to meeting my fellow volunteers tomorrow and being shown around the campus by Derek, the co-ordinator of the volunteers.