A few of our group from CCN before our trip.. Missing: Lydia, Donna, Brenda, Jim, Kim, Sue, Patti, Lorraine and Keith
Leaving Chicago via Korean Air for Thailand Our flight took about 20 hours or so with a layover in Korea.
The view from our hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second biggest city with about a million people in its metropolitan area.
More of the view in Chiang Mai Chiang Mai is located in Northern Thailand , the largest city in Thailand is Bangkok in the south.
On our way to Mae Hong Son.. Those are bee hives in that tree! Our bus ride between Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son took about 8 hours through Thailand’s famous winding roads… Dramamine was a necessity.
In Mae Hong Son, Thailand Mae Hong Son is a city of about 7,000 people and is only about a half an hour from NaiSoi and 6 miles from Burma.
Still in Mae Hong Son trying to figure out OUR plans Our initial plans were to build an orphanage at a camp further south.. When our plans were forced to change it took a while to figure out where we were going.. We ended up heading to NaiSoi.
Misty morning in Mae Hong Son Buddhist monks are prevalent in Thailand (shown in this picture walking along the street), about 95% of Thais practice Buddhism.
Capturing a line of young monks on my camera Another monk shot..
Helping with “Queen for the Day” event put on by KFA Every year Kenosha Free Assembly in Wisconsin sends a group of ladies to NaiSoi where they visit with and minister to a small group of refugee widows. These women lost their husbands to the violence in Burma. They travel by foot through the jungle from the camp to NaiSoi. They then are treated like queens for a day where they are treated to a shampoo and head massage, manicure, and hair cut while their kids are entertained. Our medical clinic was also set up to help them.
It really was hard work but more than worth it.. Life in a refugee camp is not glamorous. Many of the women we served that day don’t have the things that we would consider basic and necessary . Treating them to a shampoo and cut is small to us but was likely huge to them. Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40
Brenda working in our clinic that we set up in NaiSoi Brenda Harshman was amazing with her patients.. The language barrier was large and there are medical terms that we have that they don’t have words for, you can imagine how much harder it was for her to diagnose anything. I loved watching her work because she had to be creative and she did such an outstanding job serving the refugees. She has a huge heart for God and the refugees.
Lorraine & Chris also did a fantastic job at helping the refugees with their medical needs. Lorraine & Chris working in the clinic
Meanwhile back at the salon, Lydia and Brenda were working hard at building towers of nail clippings! Even the boys started showing up for a clipping and shampoo.
View of the church from our bunk in the boys’ dorm Even though our plans in NaiSoi were last minute the students happily gave up their living quarters for the whole time we were there, we stayed in the boys dorm building. They were so happy to have us at their school and were always making sure we were comfortable.
Lunch time outside of the clinic for Lydia & Dave We usually ate rice with something added to it… broth or vegetables and sometimes meat. We ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner but the students only eat twice a day.
Waiting to see the Doc.. This is outside of the clinic that we set up. Brenda, Lorraine, Donna, Sue, and Chris were helping the refugees with their medical needs and Pat, Patti, & Tamyra were helping with dental work.
Refugee widows receiving their gifts that we brought for them which included clothes, toiletries and small toys for their children.
Larry really hit it off with the students, they referred to him as Crazy Larry (we might have given them that idea) and they just swarmed him whenever they could. He also found a feathered friend at the school. Mr. Popular
Setting up a “shop” of donated goods for the refugees
Receding Hairlines Prakob (our tourist policeman) and Kim comparing foreheads.
Long Neck On our way to the long neck village. The Thai government allows the refugees in the long neck village to live outside of the camp as long as they continue their long neck tradition.
The women in this village add heavy metal bands to their necks each year.. The bands push down on the collar bone and make the neck appear longer…
I was told that traditionally it served to protect the women from tiger attacks (typically they go for the neck) and also allowed the men in the village to quickly identify their women if they were kidnapped by the enemy and needed to be rescued…Their women were the ones with the longer necks.
Now it is simply a tourist attraction that is profitable for the Thai government and allows this tribe to live in this village outside of Burma.
Walking through the rice paddies We took a break and walked into NaiSoi from the school.
View of the girls dorm on the left with the boys dorm in the background
You can guess what that’s for It’s called a squatty, because that’s how you use it, you squat. After you’re done you take a dish and dip water out of the tub next to the squatty and dump it down the drain to “flush” it.
In the meantime our construction was making progress but only as fast as our pick axes would allow.
Stand strong. Don’t let anything move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord; your work is never wasted. 1 Corinthians 15:58
I was showing the girls pictures from home.. Of Clara & Spike (my pup and cat) and one of Blake (my newphew). They got a kick out of me telling them that Clara is my baby, dogs are treated differently in our culture than theirs. I also gave them my Bible in hopes that they could try to teach themselves English with it by comparing it to their Karenni Bible. I’ve decided it would be better if I went back and helped them with that instead.
This is Klu, a beautiful girl from the inside out I really bonded with Klu, she is so sweet and I can’t imagine what she’s been through in her short life so far. She is an inspiration to me because of her bright outlook despite her circumstances, if only we all could be so wise. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31
Prakob’s job was to protect us and our belongings but I didn’t feel like we needed him in NaiSoi.. However, I was glad he was there, he ended up becoming a great friend to most of us and we loved being around him.
Taking a break to fetch some bamboo from the jungle
Pictures can’t do justice to the size of those trees. Mae Hong Son province in Thailand is made up of complex mountain ranges and thick dense jungle forests which long isolated it from the rest of the world.
I wanted bamboo so the students could show us how to make cups or bowls with it… they did, I ended up bringing a lot of cups home with me that were made by the students and a few that I made myself.
Brent and Stella Stella is a missionary from India, she has an amazing heart and is doing great work in Thailand with Dave. She has worked in the refugee camps as a teacher and traveled into Burma to help the people that are still there.
Like it was made for me.. The students sew their traditional Karenni dresses and sell them to help support the school. They also make jewelry and Karenni flags to sell, both of which I also own now.