Great Days, On The Road

Day 59 – Ban Home Hug in Yasothon

We are back from the orphanage, it was a great visit and I think we had as much fun as the kids. Natt gave a little presentation about our journey from Surat Thani to Yasothon and its 4,000 plus kms. We talked to the kids and answered a few questions, keeping the whole thing short and sweet so as to not bore the kids who were eager to ride on our crazy bicycle.
And then came the fun part, 80% of the kids lined up for a short ride in the front seat of our bicycle. They all thought it was the coolest bike they had ever seen. They seemed to have a real blast, and even though some of them took more encouragement than others to climb aboard, they all jumped off after their short tour of the parking lot with a big smile and a good laugh. I had a great time.
Some of the staff also had a go on our bike, everyone was willing and I think it was a unique experience for everyone, both young and old. It felt great bringing a little bit of extra joy into their day, no matter how simple.
Mae Tew, the head of the orphanage, told us that they had lost a child recently to hand, foot, and mouth disease and that the illness was affecting quite a few kids this year. There is currently a larger than usual outbreak in Cambodia/Thailand and the orphanage has also had a few new children who have been ‘dropped off’ in recent months.
Mae Tew also chatted to us about the fact that many people never come back for a second visit to the orphanage, many come once to make a donation but rarely return. She believes, and most likely so, that many find it a shock and don’t want to deal with the emotion of it again. She was happy that this was Natt’s 3rd visit to the orphanage (It is my second) and we plan to return again, sometime in the next year.
We were able to make a small donation to the orphanage thanks to some friends in Australia, Laura Henry and Zoe Watson (of Bliss Sanctuary for Women). All together we donated AUD$500. It’s not a mammoth amount, but still something not to be scoffed at. I read previously somewhere that it costs around AUD$3,000 a month to clothe and feed all the kids at his orphanage, so I’m happy to know that our money can help a little.
I wish we could do more for them. I think we will try and do more for them in the future through Natt’s business, Your Thai Guide. We both feel that there has to be some way we can pull something together.
Tomorrow will be totally different, we are being interviewed at 8am for ‘a day magazine’. It should be very interesting. Their last issue (142) was 100% about cycling, and looking at their facebook page they’ve currently got 22,xxxx people talking about them (and a quarter of a million fans). So I think being interviewed by them will be great exposure for our little trip.

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