Last month we received a donation to treat the girls to ice cream. It took a while before we could schedule the event but once the temperatures reached more than 40 degrees, it was really time for the mothers to take the girls to an ice cream parlor. Not only scoops of ice cream but also with many additions. It was a true celebration with so many girls and mothers in the shop. It was marvelous to see everyone enjoying themselves.
Perhaps this seems like such a simple thing but it is truly special for our girls who don’t get such a treat very often. The timing was perfect and everyone was glad and grateful that they could cool down inside and out: an air-conditioned shop with a cooling treat.
For many years the girls have been dreaming about going to the beach. Many of them had never seen the beach and the sea. From Chiang Rai it means a drive of at least 14 hours and therefore this was quite an undertaking which needs planning. But after a long time the girls’ dream has become a reality.
On April 19th we got into a big coach in order to get off 14 hours later in Bangkok where we were going to spend the night. There we met a colleague’s good friend who had also worked for our organisation some years ago. She is familiar with our house and everything we do there. She provided us with a place to sleep and as an extra we also met one of our former residents there, a woman of 34 years old now. She was so happy to see us all, especially the house mothers she still knew from her time with us. She and her husband cooked a meal for all of us, a group of about 40 people.
The following morning we visited the science museum, which was very nice. After that we drove for another three hours to the beach. We arrived just in time for dinner and a quick dive into the sea before dark. Along the way we picked up another old-resident. She is 28 now and she stayed with us for two days and enjoyed seeing the mothers who raised her.
The next day we visited a sea aquarium which was very special, because now we were near the sea. We went swimming right after visiting the sea aquarium and played in the sand. That night we had a dinner dedicated to seafood specialties which everybody loved very much as they don’t get this type of food every day. After dinner we went for a walk on the beach and back to the coach. Fully satisfied we went back to our accommodation.
Next, a visit to a big park with botanical gardens, dinosaurs, real elephants and English and French gardens was on the program. It was a shame the weather was extremely hot, but that did not take away any of the fun. For Thai people taking pictures and selfies is very important and this was a particularly nice location for it. There was also a big dance show about the different cultures in traditional costume as well as a show with elephants.
That afternoon we had another surprise. One of our colleague’s old schoolfriend and her husband live nearby our accommodation and the two women had not seen each other for thirty years. She and her husband insisted on taking us to KFC for a meal and an ice cream. After dinner many went back to the beach for a walk or a bit of fun, it was too dark to go swimming unfortunately.
On our last day we sailed to an island nearby. Oh, it was so beautiful there with turquoise water and sand which was almost white. First we went for a swim and many of us went for a banana boat ride. The boat was pulled along by a very fast jet ski. It threw people off on purpose so they had a hard time climbing back on it.
We took another boat to a location where we could snorkel and play on the slides. Tired, but hugely satisfied we came back to prepare ourselves for departure. This was easily the best day of the week.
Early in the evening two sisters had a big surprise when they had a visit from their mother and their grandmother who live close to where we were staying. As we normally live too far away for them to visit this was a special occasion after a long time. What a wonderful bonus on such a lovely day.
Early that night we left to go home. A large part of the journey was spent sleeping or singing karaoke loudly. Some covered their ears, but most girls loved it.
It was a wonderful trip which everybody enjoyed a lot. On behalf of the girls and staff we would like to thank everybody who contributed in making this trip possible.
Click here for more pictures of our trip, in the photo folder named: “Beach holiday April 2023”.
The last week of March was a special week for the girls. A team from the organization Art for All filled the week with many creative activities. Everyone participated even when they first thought that they weren’t good at art. With a bit of encouragement they discovered that they were able to do better than they had thought they could. It was fantastic to see how happy the girls were. They made regular paintings, skirts out of painted paper, decorated t-shirts, made hats, hair decorations and much, much more. Eventually everyone had something to wear which they displayed during the fashion show at the end of the week. Most of the girls walked proudly down the catwalk while others crept shyly towards the end of the runway. For sure a fabulous week! Thank you Art for All team.
For more pictures click here and go to the photo album “Art for All 2023”
Do you want to know more about Art for All? Click here
One of the young women who used to live at Baan Phak Phing was moving with her daughter to the middle of the country to return to her mother and other family members. Since it was a long 7-hour drive, two staff ‘mothers’ drove her home. Her younger sister, who still lives at Baan Phak Phing, went along to visit their mother and family. They enjoyed several days of spending time together as a family.
In the meantime the ‘mothers’ visited two sisters who also live in the same region. Years ago these sisters spent some time with us at Baan Phak Phing while their mother was getting her life back on the rails, so that she could offer a safe environment for her daughters. It was wonderful to see that the girls have flourished. The mother is very grateful that her daughters were given a safe home during the time that she could not care for them. Now she has a small business selling Thai snacks. The staff left with enough snacks for everyone living at Baan Phak Phing!
Baan Phak Phing has been collaborating with the University of Applied Sciences Stenden in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands for several years now. The students studying at the campus in Bangkok are involved in real life projects with organizations in various regions of Thailand. That is how the collaboration started. Unfortunately Covid forced the students to work online but hopefully in the future the students will visit the home in Chiang Rai.
The last group of students set up a T-shirt fundraising project, designing, printing and selling some of the t shirts. Yet, T-shirts in both colors and sizes are still available.
You can order one or more by sending an email to [email protected]. Clearly state whether you want white or black and which size(s) you would like: S, M, L, XL. Enclose the correct street address so that we can send them by post.
The price per t-shirt is only €15,00, which can be transferred to Stichting Baan Phak Phing, NL47 ABNA 0514499257. Please mention that the amount is for the t-shirt fundraising project.
Thank you for your support in this collaborative project between HBO Stenden and Baan Phak Phing.
This year we were able to have a Christmas celebration a Baan Phak Phing again. This year we had the celebration on Sunday, December 18th, in the morning, so several girls who lived here could come with their entire families. Most of them work on Saturdays and it is difficult for them to travel with their children during the evening as well. Quite a number of former girls were present; some single and some with husband and children. Christine Overeem, founder of Baan Phak Phing, was also present. When all former girls were on stage and talking, I couldn’t help but look at Christine and realize that all this was very special. We are so proud of all those women who have been successful in life, who haven’t given up and who still like to come back to their ‘home’. Each and every one of them were very thankful for what Baan Phak Phing has meant for them. For us, as a team of ‘mothers’, this was the best Christmas present we could get and we hope that the stories of the former girls have been encouraging for the girls who live with us now.
Yes, the title contains the word ‘new’ but this article is not about the New Year that is coming. Is about meeting a former colleague and about attending the marriage ceremony of a new colleague.
There are no special occasions in Thailand that are not accompanied by an elaborate meal, whether it is a wedding, a funeral, a housewarming party or the welcoming of an old friend or colleague. A good meal is always part of the deal. We don’t really mind because in Thailand they sure know how to cook great food.
When it comes to the wedding: the girls all worked hard to organize the party. All the girls of the house where the bride works had studied a dance to perform. When they started the dance we wondered where the bride was, because she seemed to be too late and had to miss the dance. But very soon, this turned out to be part of the show because the bride entered the stage as well to dance with the other girls. She and the girls had studied the dance together, which we did not know.
About our former colleague: she has been living abroad with her husband for years and now she was around, she wanted to give all the girls and employees a special treat, a Thai barbecue. We all enjoyed it very much, especially the people who knew the former colleague from the past.
“Help, help, there is a fire!” or: “Help, help, Sientje is not breathing anymore!” We hope we never have to experience this, but it’s better to be prepared in case it does. Last month, the girls and ‘mothers’ practiced how to leave the house as safely and as quickly as possible in case a fire would break out. It is good to have an annual fire drill, so everybody knows what to do when something really happens. A fire drill is a serious thing, but because it is not real, it is also an occasion to have fun together. After this year’s fire drill, a team of experts also conducted a first aid training to the staff. We are very glad to be able to receive this training in order to make sure that all staff know what to do in case of an actual emergency.
Right after the girls come home, they participate in the daily tasks that need to be done at home. For instance, a young girl of barely 10 years old has learned to cook from her ‘mother’. It’s quite exciting to stir in a pan that has a fire underneath it. She likes and enjoys it. The food does taste different when you’ve been helping to prepare it, right?
A young lady of already 22 years old graduated last month and got her diploma as an assistant nurse. She is very glad about that and would like to work as an assistant nurse as soon as possible. But she needs to be patient for a while until an opening comes up and it will. In the meantime, she took another job to pay for her expenses because she wanted to live on her own right after her graduation. She’s been looking forward to living on her own for years, so we’re very happy she can do that now.
A slightly older young lady, who has been living independently for a couple of years now, had a baby a while ago. A couple of ‘mothers’ recently visited her. It is always good to stay in touch with the girls that have lived at Baan Phak Phing.
What do Park Seo Jun and a group of girls have in common? That is a good question that needs a proper answer. As a celebrity Park Seo Jun has a huge fan club who, in Park Seo Jun’s name, sends gifts to fans and people in need all over the world. Also to Baan Phak Phing.
First of all the girls received awesome shoes, real Skechers, in honor of Park Seo Jun’s birthday last year. Then we received new refrigerators to replace the old, worn out and energy eating ones. And on top of that, we were able to fill these fridges with a couple of different delicious products because of Park Seo Jun’s debut day on August 12th.
When we told the girls we received another gift from Park Seo Jun they were very excited. They wondered what it would be this time around. We showed them the Bibigo products of Korean food and they were all eager to try them out. For one of the three family homes at Baan Phak Phing breakfast the next day was a big party with the Bibigo dumplings. They liked them a lot.
The ice cream was eaten right away, because it was a day off and the weather was hot. Very refreshing!