“Ah, we’re almost home!” The two girls just finished school and are looking forward to dinner. They can almost smell the food, that’s how close they are. When they are just about to pass the parked car of the neighbours, the car suddenly starts moving. Without indication, the neighbour takes a turn. There is no way they can stop in time, so they collide with the car and fall off their moped. Ouch!
This accident happened a little while ago. Both the girls and the neighbour got a good scare! Thankfully the neighbour immediately got out of his car to help. Because it was in such close proximity of the house, some mothers could immediately assist as well. All in all, the damage could have been way worse. The girls had a soar mouth, a loose teeth and a painful knee from the fall. The moped was only slightly damaged, but the neighbours car has a big dent and now the door won’t open and close properly anymore. We are thankful everyone seemed mostly oké!
A girl of only nine years old, recently came back to live with us. She used to live with us before, after she had become the victim of abuse. Back then she was not even six years old. After a few years in Baan Phak Phing, she went back to her mother because it was safe again. It’s absolutely heartbreaking, but over time the situation at her home deteriorated and the girl fell short of protection again. This led to another abuse situation.
In the past weeks, our psychologist and the leader of the house where the girl lives have helped the girl share her story with the police. The investigation is still pending and this means the girl had to return to the crime scene to testify. Once the investigation is over, the case will be brought to court and the girl is expected to show up there as well. This is an extremely difficult time for her. It feels like she needs to revisit her trauma over and over. It’s absolutely horrible. Despite the pain and hardships, we are thankful that we are in a position to offer her support and protection in this time of need.
A young couple wanted to get married and was on the lookout for a good location. They also hoped to find people willing to help them with the preparation of the party. Well, I can tell you one thing: the ‘mothers’ of Baan Phak Phing got very excited when they heard this news. They enthusiastically proposed for the wedding to take place on the property of the girls’ house. It wasn’t just any couple after all. The mothers and girls all know the groom. He has been around for fourteen years and regularly helps with the IT, printers and website. The bride is also well known by many.
That’s why the staff offered to take care of all the food and drinks. Quite a challenge, because they expected 160 guests! On the big day itself, not only the mothers but even the girls all helped out. They also helped decorating the garden. You should have seen how lovely it all looked! It was a great party and the happy couple is extremely thankful for all the help and love they received.
Most people enjoy a good party but everyone has different ideas on what the best way to celebrate is. Some love large crowds, others are content with several close friends nearby; some prefer to dance and sing, others would rather keep things peaceful; some would like a full on meal, others just want a nice cup of steaming coffee; some readily dress up, others keep things casual; etcetera.
In Baan Phak Phing, Christmas is a huge deal and we celebrate it big time. For us that means dancing, playing games, singing, listening to a story, acting out sketches and sharing an elaborate meal. We invite former girls, our neighbors, friends and family over so that we can celebrate with a large group. Thankfully, we were able to celebrate Christmas despite Corona. It felt like such a privilege, we are so grateful. When it came to New Years, we were still able to celebrate, though we usually keep that a bit smaller anyways, with ‘just’ our large family. All the girls and co-workers came together for a lovely and long Thai barbecue. In between bites, we played games and danced. We also shared a story and even sang karaoke. It was such a pleasure to be able to start the year together like this.
This month two of our young adult women will go study at the university. One of them will study logistics and the other will study nursing. Neither of them knew how they were going to be able to do this without their own laptop, they were quite worried about this. It was amazing when, a little while ago, we got a donation to buy two new laptops, one for each of them. I wish you could have seen the joy on their faces when we told them they didn’t have to worry. The laptops have been purchased and set up for them with all the software they will need.
On behalf of the two young ladies we want to thank the sponsor from the bottom of our hearts for this generous donation.
In order to stay healthy, the girls eat fruit and vegetables every day. Usually, we go to the market to buy our groceries, but with a garden like ours we thought it would be a great opportunity to actually grow some fruit and vegetables ourselves! Gardening is not only educational and saves money, but also a lot of fun to do together. The girls aren’t always too excited to start doing these chores, but that’s okay. Every one of us sometimes has to do something we don’t necessarily love after all. Thankfully, the girls really enjoy the time they get to spend with each other and the mothers once they have started. It is very rewarding for them to see the plants sprout and eventually produce the fruit and vegetables they themselves get to eat. Yum!
In order to give the girls a good education and prepare them for the rest of their lives, we make use of computers. Of course, computers tend to get slower over time which usually means they need to be updated. A simple update can speed up a computer and generally makes it last for years longer. Yet, even then, sometimes a complete replacement is needed. It’s important to us, to use solely legal programs and software for the computers. And of course we also need printers for the offices and the girls’ homework. All in all, we need approximately 1.100,- euro’s a year to make everything run smoothly.
Last October, we received a gift of 1.000,- euros from a Dutch foundation. That allowed us to buy two new computers and to invest in life-lengthening updates for our current ones. The money came in at exactly the right time; the problems we encountered with the computers we had were not able to be fixed in any other way. We are so grateful! Thanks to this gift, the girls and staff can continue their work and studies.
Baan Phak Phing was founded in 1990, so you can imagine that many girls have become part of our family since then. We don’t know exactly how many girls lived in Baan Phak Phing over the years, but we do know there are many. For us, as ‘mums’, it’s so encouraging to see that we could offer so many girls a safe place full of warmth and love. We see that the girls grow up to become independent women and start their own families. In this way our family continues to grow, how wonderful!
Recently, we gained another new family member: a healthy daughter was born and both mother and child are doing well. It is the young woman’s first born, so naturally it took some time to adjust to the new situation. However, with the support of the ‘mums’ and her family in law, they are doing great.
At the beginning of this year, a mother who worked in Baan Phak Ping for over 13 years left to take care of her sick father and other family members. This was tough for both the staff and the girls. Recently, the staff and the girls from the house where the mother had worked went to visit her at home. They chatted while enjoying a delicious meal. It was a wonderful reunion for everyone.