March 14, 2012

Making Friends and a Difference

Day 8 - Tsunami Orphanage

Ban Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Park
The events of today were not at all as I expected. Before we got to the orphanage we were taken to the Ban Nam Khem Tsunami memorial park, that was dedicated to all the people that died in the tsunami that occurred in Phuket in 2004. It was an eye opening experience to learn about all the suffering inflicted on these people because of the tsunami; people did not only lose their homes, many lost jobs or even family members. It was a shocking experience to learn about the suffering of these people, and it really made me realize how fortunate I am for all that I have.

After learning a few things about the terrible tsunami, we were ready to go to the orphanage and interact with the kids. I was expecting it to be like the orphanage in Chiang Mai, where we spent most of our time painting some of the buildings in the orphanage,  but it was not. When we got there, we immediately began interacting and getting to know the kids. It was amazing to see how much love these children were willing to give, and how fast they were able to open up and begin communicating with us, even if we struggled to communicate back. They made us coffee and helped us create tie dye t-shirts. It was such a touching experience spending the day with them. They had lived in situations that I could never relate to, but somehow we were still able to click in such ways that seemed almost impossible for such a short period of time.

We also had gifts for them!!! Before we left, we the Emma community created Jester Bracelets of Hope. These friendship bracelets are meant to be a source of encouragement to those who may be going through difficult times and simply just need an extra push or support. We gave each child a Jester Bracelet and as we tied them on their little wrists we explained to them the meaning of the bracelets. they all loved them!!!

After spending the day with them and taking a lot of pictures, it was time for us to part ways. Leaving our kids was the hardest thing to do in the whole trip. I could not stand the idea of leaving after just one day of falling in love with them. This amazing experience is definitely something I will take with me for the rest of my life, and I  am really glad I was able to go and help the Khao Lak orphanage.

After having a day full of learning, reflecting and helping little kids at the Khao Lak orphanage, it was time to relax and have some more fun after such an eventful morning. What is a better way of having fun than going to the beach with all of your friends? After a long car ride from the orphanage to the hotel in Patong, all the Emma girls were ready to have some beach fun. At the beach we had the chance to see the sun set. We took pictures together to capture this amazing moment. 

After the beach, we went to dinner, and then I was excited to try the banana pancakes that were being made in the stand outside our hotel. I ate two banana, coconut and Nutella  banana pancakes, which were kind of like crepes. After that, some of my friends and I went to the night market that was about one mile away from the hotel. While we were walking to the market we had the chance to see the active night life in Patong and do more shopping. 

At 10:30pm it was time return to the hotel to check in with Stacey. When we returned we spent some time in the lobby. I ordered some virgin piña coladas and we shared some fun stories and experiences from our trip thus far. This day was a day full of fun and sharing good memories with  friends. The Thailand trip has been a really special trip for me in which I got to meet new people and experience  a new culture. Every day has been special in different ways. Some days we were at orphanages helping little kids and teaching them, but at the same time they were also teaching us about their culture and lives. Some days we were having fun alltogether at the beach or riding elephants or swimming in a waterfall.  I will never forget all the time that I had and all that  learned on the Thailand trip. 

Dani & Vanessa

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