Sprezzatura on Bamboo Poles

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EyesPerhaps you know someone like this: no matter what they do or what predicament they find themselves in, life just seems to be taken in stride for them. They make it look so easy. Other people in the same situation may be freaking out, melting down, or running away. But not this person; they have what it takes to stick with it. They have sprezzatura. This old Italian word basically means, “Don’t let them see you sweat.” It’s where everything seems to be almost effortless, yet it always works out. Kru Nam is my Thai picture of sprezzatura.The first time I sat down to talk with Kru Nam, we were on the bamboo-slat floor of a rickety shack on thicker bamboo poles, in the middle of a bare patch of land. With each movement we made, the bamboo floor stretched and groaned underneath us, threatening to let go under the weight of all of us. Beside me, Vaden nervously held his breath, fully aware that his 250 pounds was the biggest reason for the bamboo’s objections! That land and that little shack were nothing to look at if you are only capable of seeing what is in front of you. But we didn’t see it with our eyes that day – we saw it with our hearts as Kru Nam painted a picture for us of what freedom could look like for the 100+ kids that they had rescued off the streets and out of brothels. On that dry little patch of land, far away from the eyes and reaches of predators, traffickers and corrupt law enforcement, they could create a place of safety, a place of hope, and a haven of love. At the time that we met them all, they were seeking out an existence with these orphans in a two-story storefront building. Meals were never taken for granted and every baht (Thai Currency) was tightly accounted for. They had nothing but love, hope, and a dream – and an incredible dose of sprezzatura!Beautiful FeetAs we sat there that day, we joined our dreams with hers of how LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) could help and of what this could look like. Kru Nam pulled out the plans for the homes that they were believing they could build on that land, and we began to see it all take shape right in front of us. These homes would mean more than we could ever dream for these kids and the staff that worked with them. They would have room to play and be kids in, they would have access to clean water, they would have an office which they could set up and begin to reach out to the world around them in. After that afternoon, we were returning to Canada with a goal: to rally the troops and get them some help. And we were able to do it: through the help of LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute), the Not For Sale Campaign, and a few other international organizations, money and resources were raised to start the project.One year later we returned with our Hero Holiday team and we weren’t quite prepared for what was there when we pulled up to the property: new, beautiful and clean buildings sat proudly on the property, laughing kids danced around our truck, waving excitedly for us to come see their new home, and in the midst of all of them, Kru Nam and her staff stood there beaming at us, waving us on. I was in awe of how far they had come and I said so to Kru Nam right after I hugged her hello. She smiled, as usual, and calmly said, “Yes, we have come a long way this year.” Despite much opposition, being taken advantage of by corrupt officials, money and resources being continually stolen from them by construction workers and other people as they attempted to get settled in their new place, and the heartbreak of losing some kids back to the streets and to sickness, they were still standing and they weren’t going anywhere. Still, they stood there that day, welcoming us with grace and poise to their new home – their new home that had cost them everything and would continue to be full of healing and heartbreak every day. They stood there with sprezzatura, and as I watched them in action, it made me want to try a little harder, work a lot smarter and reach a lot more lives.WarmthKru Nam and her staff stand as beacons of light in very dark place in Northern Thailand. Every day there are hurdles to overcome, unexpected predicaments and often heartbreak, but through love and determination, they work with each one of the kids they harbour to live a life of recovery and wholeness. This is love at the grassroots and it is vital to the future of our global family. This August, LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute)’s Hero Holiday program will be returning to Thailand to help Kru Nam, her staff, and the incredibly inspiring kids that they love and work with, both on the streets and in their homes. We would love to have you join us! Check out to find out more about how you can join us on the experience of a lifetime!

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: February 27th, 2010