Here are the Thailand June updates from Mike Denison over the weekend. Our team is really connecting with the local community — so great to see!
The women in this area are already expert seamstresses who create beautiful clothing by hand. They are fast learners on the sewing machines, which is putting their productivity into hyper drive.
Our business committee is also providing seeds for a new kind of cash crop tree, so many of our team members helped plant the seeds with compost in little germination bags.
The new loom is now operational and they are weaving the most beautiful fabric!
The people here are so patient and appreciative of this crazy group of Americans who have invaded their village. As we have offered our humble gifts and efforts to them, they are reciprocating with their own gifts: food to those who go on home visits, headbands to the sewing teachers, traditional shirts and bags, and more.
Touring is nice, but living and working side-by-side with people is the best way to really see the world.
DAY 6: Stay flexible! As we started the planning for this adventure seven months ago, we have been drilling into the team that we need to stay flexible. Because things don’t always go the way you plan, you need to go with the flow and still make it a good day.
Today was a perfect example. Since it was Saturday, we had planned a lot of fun activities for the school kids: a soccer clinic, dance class, singing class, and a health fair. However, we didn’t realize it would be planting season. And since this is a farming community, nearly all the school kids were needed in the fields to help.
Fortunately, we had a good sized group of mothers and daughters to attend our health classes on maturation. We distributed menstruations kits with washable pads that can help save them a lot of money if needed.
And there was very little to do on the construction projects. We suddenly found ourselves with a lot of time on our hands. So we broke out some of the playground balls we brought to donate to the school, grabbed some playground chalk, and played four-square for a long time 😃
After that, we had a soccer tournament amongst ourselves, topped off by a game between our Thai interpreters and some of our team. Final score: Thailand 2:1 USA.
We strolled back to the guest house and had the luxury of a quiet afternoon and evening to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
DAY 7: A day of rest? On Youthlinc trips, Sunday is usually pretty chill. During this past week we discovered that the majority of the hill tribes in northern Thailand are Christian, not Buddhist. One of the small local congregations invited us to attend their meeting yesterday, so off we went!
It was another interesting cultural exchange that is nearly impossible to replicate when you travel as a tourist.
They were so kind and welcoming. We were asked to introduce ourselves and share a song. The main sermon of the day was about working together to accomplish great things. Couldn’t have been more appropriate.
To our surprise, they also prepared a lovely lunch for us. The warmth we receive here is so amazing.
Earlier in the week we asked our translators if maybe there was good nearby hike to a waterfall we could do in the afternoon. They found a local who agreed to be the guide.
Well, the little hike soon turned out to be a pretty intense trek. But everyone made it back safe and sound!
In our evening reflection meeting, Angie talked to the group about the value of accomplishing big, difficult things in life. You may not always like overcoming the big task in front of you, but the growth you gain is worth more than the price.
Tomorrow is our final day of construction and teaching. It’s going by so fast!”