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March 17, 2005

Helping Kamala Kids - Photos!

Today was an important day for this relief mission. With great help from Tik Satterwhite, more than half the donations collected were given today to the Kamala Child Development Center, to pay one year's tuition for ten young students in pre-k/kindergarten, as well as for uniforms for one student for the next year or so.

I am glad to be able to support these kids with your donations, especially since so many of you wanted your gifts to go directly to children. Jaran Sararak, a school administrator, gave us a thank you letter expressing sincere gratitude for your generous kindness.

Their sweet faces tell the whole story of how important it is to help them with school and give them every opportunity to learn and grow. The Thai people are very good at supporting those in their community, but there is so much to do, I am glad that as world neighbors we can help them help their own community.

I haven't developed my photos yet, but Shanti has posted some images from the Kamala schools yesterday, and the temple, on Ofoto: Please click here for Shanti's photos from Kamala. (You do not need to sign in to Ofoto to view them.)

I'll also be making a donation to the Kamala temple, where the monks need walls built before monsoon season washes them out.

For more information on the monks and other notes from the day, please click continue below.

***Half of the monks living there died in the wave, which filled the temple up above Buddha's eyes (look at the photos to check this out—it's a LOT of water, and extended 1km into the town). Someone has given them a soft-top quonset hut to sleep in until a compound can be built, but the temple is in pretty bad shape. Monks rely totally on support from their community, and are not permitted to ask for anything. Each morning they walk the streets of the town, where people leave food out for them, and that's their day's meal. Local shops sell shrink-wrapped saffron-colored buckets filled with Monk Supplies that you can bring to the temple as a gift, or I guess leave out for them: All have a saffron robe, and basics like a toothbrush, toothpaste and soap. After that, there are three sizes for different prices—the largest one comes with a flashlight with D batteries. Some Buddhists prefer to give the monks separate donations instead of a pre-made kit, to insure the stuff in the bucket is fresh and usable.

The temple is the local worship area for the Kamala people, and so is an important gathering place and place of healing. I hope that by helping to heal the cement walls, somehow, it will help the community heal together.

Shilpa, Shanti + Daz headed up to Khao Lak today, on a go-see to understand the damage there on their way to the beautiful islands. The town was one of the worst hit. Shilpa+Shanti then will travel on to see Shanti's friends Elizabeth and Sun, divers in Ao Nang whose business was wiped out by the tsunami. Shanti has donations for the sea gypsies there, to help rebuild their boats. They'll also check out Koh Phi Phi and rack up some chill time in Koh Lanta.

I had some things to wrap up here in Kamala and Kata, and wanted to make a connection with the son of an old friend of my mom's, who has organized some relief work as well, so I stayed behind. We'll probably all reconvene later in our journeys.

Lunch today included Coconut yogurt ("nata du coco") from a mini-mart, which was quite tasty. I didn't try the yogurt with the picture of a fresh corn cob on the front, which boasted lotus beans as a key ingredient. Maybe tomorrow.

Posted by sedda at March 17, 2005 04:17 PM