|HELLO EVERYBODY! I HOPE YOUR HOILDAYS ARE GOING WELL. MINE HAVE BEEN FANTASTIC SO FAR. I arrived at Bann Dada yesterday and have been really enjoying it. If you haven't seen my other messages yet, check out the website at baandada.org . I wasn't quite sure what it was all about, but after 24 hours there, I'm getting a pretty good idea. It's basically an orphanage, that hires a variety of locals to help out and keep care of the kids. There's 54 kids, aged between 1.5 and 19. Most of them are boys, but the female population is growing. It was strictly a boys home, but he's opened it up to girls. The kids have all had sad histories. Some worse than others, but they're all happy and incredibly loving. Within 10 minutes I had kids in every arm and hanging off of me. It was amazing. They're not shy, and used to farang's (foreigners) coming and going. So they bond quickly, and cry when you leave. One guy left today who had been coming up frequently for 3 months.. It was heart wrenching. I think I'll only be able to stay for a week, or else I won't be able to leave. There's 4 "mom's" (usually from the sex trade), a grandma, and a few men who do the yard work. It seems like a very tight family, and the kids all take care of one another. they've mostly been here for years, and have few hopes of leaving, so they all become very close. It's sure an eye opener, makes me appreciate my life even more. Lots of the kids are from Burma, and their families have been killed. Some are actually found wandering around, with no one caring for them. Ouch. Dada, the man who runs the place, is incredibly caring, and kind hearted. The volunteers all say they've never heard him raise his voice, and can't say no. Needless to say, it's a bit chaotic, but the intentions are all good. They are even going to celebrate X-mas. Every kid gets a pair of underwear and a pair of socks. We were wrapping presents today, and we'll set up the tree tonight, after the kids have gone to bed. They'll wake up in the morning to a tree and decorations. It should be exciting.
I don't get much time in town, so I'll sign off for now, but hopefully will be back in town before to long. Take care, and think of the less fortunate this year. It really has made the holidays special this year. Exactly what I've been needing to get over the negative feelings that have been growing for so long.
Love and my best wishes ! Robyn