Taking the night train to Bangkok

That sounds like it should be a song title… “Night Train to Bangkok.”

Anyhow, We have left northern Thailand and headed south. After 14 hours on a train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok we jumped inot vans and ended up in Pattaya – a massive tourist area.

We visited a children’s home where we cleaned the building, did some yard work, and most importantly, played with some really great kids!

Right now, as I type this our participants are checking out some night markets and, of course, eating. I am sitting in one of dozens of internet cafes here in Pattaya enjoying a nice cappucino.

The rest of our time here in Thailand will be spent in this area. Time is growing short and we are starting to realize this trip is almost over. It’s bittersweet because we miss our friends and families, but we have fallen in love with the people of this country.

Hope the weather is good back in Canada!

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: March 22nd, 2007

Northern Thailand

Hi again everyone,

Sorry we haven’t posted anything in a couple of days. We’ve been traveling across northern Thailand and have had limited access to internet.

We have been having a lot of fun visiting children’s homes and drop-in centers. We took a group of about 50 kids to a local swimming pool where they received bathing suits, ice cream and a great meal, and where they had lots of fun being tossed into the pool.

It is amazing to be around children that have experienced such a vast amount of pain and suffering and yet can still have fun like any other child. There is still hope in their eyes. After playing with these kids it is impossible to understand how some say and act as if they do not exist. They are real. We have seen them, touched them and loved them.

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: March 20th, 2007

Hero Holiday Thailand 2007 – Spring Break

Hero Holiday has taken on a new frontier: Thailand! The students who came with us had already experienced a Hero Holiday or humanitarian trip that was HH approved. Our group that went was small but we were mighty!

Our team of 15 participants had an incredible experience as we immersed ourself in Thai culture, to begin to understand the issues and challenges there, and to especially make a difference in the lives of the children at risk. We taught English, rode elephants, took overnight trains across the country, visited orphanages and children’s homes, and were ourselves changed through it all!

For many of our participants, one of our most meaningful experiences was being able to spend time with a group of children who were ‘displaced’ kids: they had no country, no ‘identity’, and no family to come and rescue them. Many of them were sexually exploited and had been trafficked from other areas, and somehow, thankfully, they were the success stories who had found a home and someone to love them. We helped to make their dreams come true by taking them swimming (not a small feat when you actually decide to do it!), bringing them fried chicken (honestly this was what they wanted more than anything else!) and bringing them limitless amounts of ice cream (against our better judgment!). The simplicity of their joy and the beauty of their laughter made an imprint on all of our hearts as we realized what pain and danger they had come through. Those children made us want to make a difference because they had made a difference in our lives. As we pulled aways from their home that evening, we were lost for words, as they seemed so insufficient to capture how we had been impacted by being a part of their world. As a group, we decided we would make a difference, in some small way, in the lives of these children and the adults who had dedicated themselves to caring for them. So, we decided to do an ‘Extreme Children’s Home Makeover’ Hero Holiday style! We marched into Tesco, the local super-store, armed with money and a mission, and we bought 7 cartloads full of supplies, including a washing machine, a TV and DVD player (to play English teaching videos to the children), towels, cleaning supplies, food and even shoes! Our team was giddy with anticipation as we took over the checkout line and there began to gather a crowd of onlookers around our group, wondering what these crazy foreigners were doing! As we loaded the supplies into the trucks of the head of the children’s home, we were overwhelmed as she began to weep and tell us how much it meant to her and the children that we would take the time and the resources to do this for them. However, in truthfulness, they were the ones who made us cry and be amazed as we watched their strength, their quiet dignity, and their capacity for hope as they rescued children and made a difference for the future.

In Thailand, we spent time beginning to understand some of the causes of child exploitation, and we began to see how our lives and choices can truly make a difference for children such as these. A new mile marker was set for Hero Holiday, as we began to see how we can make a difference to this often forgotten part of our global community and a desire was lit inside of us to begin to champion their cause.

Author: LiveDifferent


St. Patrick’s Day in Thailand

Hello Canadians,

Imagine, St. Paddy’s Day and not one Irish Pub in sight!

We spent the day teaching English at a school in Chiang Rai. We taught everything from sports terms (goooooooooooooal!) to how to find a hospital. The kids had a great time and we have already been invited back again. We made some great new friends and even learned a little Thai.

After class we went we to the swimming pool to cool off. It is sooo hot here in Thailand. Just thought I’d leave you with that thought (especially those of you on the East Coast, where I hear you are having a really nice snowstorm!)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Thailand.

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: March 17th, 2007

Hero Holiday Thailand – Rambo vs. Dumbo

I know you’ve been wondering about how some of our participants did in their Rambo auditions… well, it seems that the movie was not Rambo. It was a docu-drama about an elephant who wanders into the city. Sounds pretty cool, but definitely not “Rambo” cool. But several Hero Holidayers did get to be extras in the elephant movie.

Day 3 of Hero Holiday Thailand was a day of learning about Thai Buddhism and how it is woven into the fabric of Thai culture. It is said that “to be Thai is to be Buddhist.” We visited two Buddhist temples outside the city of Chiang Mai. The first was set high on a mountain and was decorated with precious metals and crowded with tourists. The second was far less crowded and relatively simple and peaceful (if you like the sound of crickets).

It wasn’t all temples and tranquility. We also visited a large shopping mall where we ate lunch and, of course, had Starbucks.

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: March 15th, 2007

Hero Holiday Thailand

Sa-wad-dee kaa & Sa-wad-dee khrab,

We have made it safely to Chiang Mai, Thailand! We arrived on Tuesday, March 13, after about 24 hours of constant travel.

Instead of going to bed when we arrived, we went into the city on a wild scavanger hunt where we had to try to learn how to barter very quickly. We had to find things from flowers to carrot peelers and do things from climbing a city gate to riding a tuk-tuk (it’s kind of like a taxi… or a bicycle… or both, I guess). Everyone had a great time, and we met some really great people.

Day two consisted of mopping and dusting (and some of us even swept the lawn… yes, swept) at an amazing mansion that is being used to help give young women an alternative to dangerous occupations. They run a culinary school and help these women find jobs at local cafes and resturants.

In the evening of day two some of our participants had a great opportunity to try out as extras in the new Rambo movie which is being filmed nearby. We’ll let you know if they made the cut.

The rest of our group went shopping at the night market here in Chiang Mai. Streets are lined with vendors selling everything from hand carved candle holders to Thai boxing shorts to “rolex” watches (we’re not so sure they’re real). I won’t tell you how much these things cost because you’re probably going to get something from this market, and we want you to think that gift was expensive!

For all the family members and friends that are reading this, be sure that your loved ones are safe and having an awesome time. We’ll keep you posted.

Author: LiveDifferent