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.
Two staff members and the oldest girl currently living with us, had to return to her village in the mountains. This village is about an hour and a half away and the road there leads right by where a woman, who used to live with us and later became a colleague and then moved away with her husband, lives with her newborn baby son. Two birds with one stone, nice work. The funny thing is that the staff in the blue shirt was a “mother” at the time this woman lived with us in the girls home. Later this woman became a colleague for a little while, so she too was a “mother” to the girls. And now she herself has become a mother and has been living with her biological mother during her pregnancy because she and her husband normally live in Bangkok. It is encouraging to see that it is going well with her and her family.
When trees get too tall and they start becoming a danger to the girls’ home and the tree house (counseling room) something has to be done to ensure everyone’s safety. So, before the rainy season started and things could go from bad to worse we had a couple of local workers cut the trees. There were quite a few trees that needed trimming, about 50 in total. Most of the trees were fine after the tops were cut off and about half of the trunk remained but some of them had to be cut down completely. All the trees were cut without too much trouble except for one. That tree started turning during its fall and there wasn’t enough time to correct the direction it was falling in. On its way down it clipped the corner of the counseling room causing damage to the roof, railing, and platform surrounding the tree house. Because we first had to clear out all the wood that had been cut down it took quite a while before any repair work could be done. The counseling sessions were temporarily done elsewhere to the girls’ great dismay. Our therapist also had to do a bit of improvising and adjusting to the new situation. Everyone was really happy when the repairs were finally complete and it was safe to resume the use of the tree house without getting rained on.
The girls are tired of being home all the time, they are longing to go back to school. Since halfway through March they’ve been home because of the summer break and that kept on going due to COVID-19.
The staff has done their best to make sure that the girls kept on learning and the older girls had online studies but that only filled the mornings. The afternoons are often filled with reading, arts and crafts, or watching a movie. Of course they also cook together and clean the house. But that is not the same as seeing your classmates every day and having a normal routine. This is has also been a tough time for the mothers, because having to entertain and take care of the girls is much harder than just before and after school. We are thankful that this time has come to an end because the schools reopened on the 1st of July!
The girls have had summer vacation since halfway through march. But because of COVID-19, making trips and going out is not possible. So what do we do now? Well, we have wonderful staff who decided to organize a camp. Each house, with their own staff and kids, went camping on our own property with tents, games, stories, and a campfire. The girls and staff had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.