Excuses for the late update and summary of our trip to Mae Hong Son, but we returned to a shut city and a closed business due to the corona virus so had to focus on work first before taking a day to inform you about the results. But here we go…
The Tho Hare School, what an amazing place! We as volunteers feel privileged to have visited this place with such polite children and passionate teachers.
First some numbers: all together we managed to get 694.115 Baht (20.415 Euro/18.362 GBP) in donations and managed to help 85 children and 8 teachers. The villagers and teachers built 1 dormitory and donated not a 3KW solar cell system, but a 5KW system; thanks to a few late donations.
We donated 4 new toilet/shower rooms and showered the children with 2 toys and 1 teddy bear each. Brand new mattresses, pillows and blankets for the 45 children that sleep at the school and 1 left and 1 right flip flop for all kids. We gave canned food, sports equipment, school material and games.
To conclude, we donated 1 new fridge and 4 brand new playground items, of course with the beloved helicopter! To conclude the numbers: 10 volunteers had 1 perfect trip, we drove 1786 kilometers and had about 2000 baht left which we gave to the head-teacher to buy some more snacks for the kids.
In these difficult times, we feel blessed to give and not to take. When you read about hoarding, or “hamstering” as we call it in Dutch, the opposite is what you, the donors, did for these children. Giving is much more satisfying than taking. We have to give the most sincere and warmest Thank You from the head-teacher Wanchai and his staff. For them to see a group of white people show up in the hard to reach region, to their school, to just give and not try to force a religion upon them, just have fun without strings attached, just donate without demands, is something truly special. You made that possible!
The meaning of Kharma: “The results of a person’s actions as well the actions themselves. It is a term about the cycle of cause and effect. According to the theory of Kharma, what happens to a person happens because they caused it with their actions.”
We hope that your Kharma improves immensely!
A short summary of the preparations and the trip:
It was more difficult this year to get the donations needed to complete the wish-list, but with the wild fire drama in Australia, the ongoing human disaster in Syria and in the last 2 months the upcoming corona virus, we were very happy that in the end we managed to achieve 99.9% of the list!
A special ‘thank you’ to TIAC for their generous donation; this made the upgrade from a 3KW to a 5KW solar system possible right at the last moment. A thank you to other late donors too, who rather stay unnamed, but are in our minds. And a thank you to ALL donors again, as it does not matter if you late or early, every donation made the total project possible.
Because of the lower funds as in previous years, the toilets do not looks as professional as we set our standard, but then again, it’s the functionality that counts and not so much the looks.
The villagers worked in a blistering tempo and within 4 weeks build the dormitory and toilets and that for the most modest fee. It is this kind of local support which gives the village some prosperity that is what we like to achieve. They are happy we support their children, we are happy they do the hard work.
After a few rounds of shopping, we loaded up the pickup truck and it was time to set off. Scott, Noodle, Niels and I drove from Pattaya to Mae Sariang to meet up with Lucy, Mark, Charlie, Gina, Sompong and Tuk at the Riverside hotel and set off to the mountain jungle the next morning; the 15th of March.
The road was less difficult for the experienced volunteer; no boats, no hiking, no bikes; but still hard enough as 4 hours later we came out the pickup trucks like a James Bond cocktail: shaken, not stirred.
The school looked amazing. Spotless clean, well kept, and everything well placed so there was an optimal use of the small space the terrain offered. The location was at the end of the road, about 800 meters high on a mountain ledge. The view was stunning: 280 degrees of mountains and green, about 4 kilometers away from the Salawin River, which forms the border with Myanmar (Birma).
We got a warm welcome and a glass of water. We got settled in, made our beds ready and went for a walk about checking out the dormitory and the toilets and shared smiles with the shy kids.
Noodle and Gina cooked a lovely meal which was enjoyed by the kids, teachers and volunteers. Especially the first two were even happier than us, as their diet is fairly simple and does not have too much meat: so the great meal was gone in a minute.
The next day we got breakfast from “Mr. Breakfast” Scott, this means a full English breakfast with beans, bacon, eggs and sausages. The morning we spent by handing out all the stuff we brought with us: per kid we had a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, towel, baby powder, flip flops, toys and a teddy bear. For the kids that sleep at school we had a blanket, mattress, pillow and mosquito net. It was great to see the kids walking around with a big bag full of their goodies.
In the afternoon the kids made drawings, we had some great games of Jeue de Boule (Pentanque) with some kids and an exciting game of football. Of course lunch and dinner again provided by the KF and created by Noodle and Gina. In the evening we had a few beers and laughs with the teachers.
The 17th we had a sport and games day. The joy in the chair dance, the balloon stomping game, the egg race and the weird cucumber and lemon game was so clear in their cute faces; screams of happiness, tension in their faces and glee in their eyes. And after every game the winner and the contenders got little and big snacks, which were shared, eaten and the energy levels kept rising. It was a great success.
And of course the day couldn’t end without a very serious game of football which closed the sports day and was only stopped after the dinner was on the table. Very tasty spaghetti made by Mr. Breakfast who showed he didn’t only have morning kitchen skills. The next morning we packed our bags and we had to set off early as we had a 17 hour drive in front of us. Conclusion: a PERFECT trip! Thanks to you all ♥
Pattaya – Thailand, 3 November 2019.
Dear Kharmateers all over the world,
Is it that time a year again? Yes it is! The 13th year of Kharma is upon us. Thirteen exciting projects of year upon year of growing help and ongoing support from all of you to the little children on schools in need.
Needless to say over the years our contacts we build in the North West of Thailand are strong as we have helped 9 times in this region. This remains the region furthest away from the wallets in Bangkok, and closest to the problems of the borders of Myanmar and Laos.
Via the teachers of the last two schools we got introduced to Mr. Vichai Jaikuna who is the head teacher / head of the border patrol police in the region of the Tho Hare School near the village of Tho Hare. The school is about 60 kilometers away from the school we visited last year but in this inhospitable land a few kilometers away can mean a different route, track, river or mountain. Which means that this time around there are no boat trip and no hiking up a mountain. We will be travelling by 4 wheel truck and if the weather permits it maybe by off road bikes, which is more comfortable and quicker than with the trucks. It also means no helicopter delivery of the goods which means less costs and less hassle.
The school legally has 85, but actually 91 children (6 kids are stateless, meaning from Myanmar) and is very basic. A few old buildings, a rundown shack as dormitory, an old solar system, no new uniforms for years, no food provisions and little water reserves. Basically: perfect for the KF and its great donors and volunteers!
We want to look if we can donate and help build:
1. New dormitory for boys and girls
2. A 3 kilowatt solar system complete with batteries and convertor
3. Garden supplies and garden tools to create self-proficiency
4. A small chicken (duck/pig) farm
5. 7 toilets
6. School equipment to improve study
7. Fun improvements with sports equipment, toys
8. Our famous jungle playground
10. Sanitary goods and more
11. Canned food, rice
As you might remember: last year we had money left over; which is a great start for this year! But with this adventurous wish list we can use all the help we can get. We hope to count on your support once more as the results that we book together for these children are worth it and truly make a difference!
We have a good contact with teacher Vichai, but like always only when he is down from the mountain and stays at the army camp. Like last year the satellite connection is not working due to the lack of electricity.
The schedule is that we visit the school the first or second week of March, depending on the exams of the kids and shutting of the school for the holidays.
Living in a world where the divide of the have’s and the have not’s gets bigger, the words of Roosevelt are more of valuable now than ever before “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little”.
And we keep this mantra as our words of wisdom and words we hope make our donors feel they are doing the right thing by supporting charities around the world including ours. If you choose to support us again or for the first time, let us thank you already. Everything we do is made possible by your support and we hope to complete the project “Kharma Foundation goes Valentine 2020” successfully!
The Kharma Foundation volunteers
Thailand: Kasikorn Bank 503-2-33051-9 Jomtien Branch (Martin Haasbroek)
UK: Natwest Bank account number 13557777 Sort code 54 10 27 (Lucy Travers)