Published: January 21st 2006January 21st 2006
These are the kids of the family I stayed with in Baan Nam Khem.
Welcome back to my blog. It's Saturday afternoon, January 21 (I had to stop and think about that one) here in Thailand. There's a lot to catch you up on...
Yesterday morning I checked out of my hotel (behind Khao Lak Seafood restaurant) and took the bus from Khao Lak to Bang Muang (30 minutes by bus). Once there, I called Pastor Wasan (this Thai cell phone is coming in handy) who picked me up at the bus stop (a.k.a. side of the road).
We met up with the YWAM teams at the site where they are building houses, and I started helping out with plastering the interior of the concrete block walls. I think I sweat slightly less plastering than I do mixing the cement, sand, & water...so I kept going back to mixing to get a better workout. :) After a few hours of blood, sweat, and...(no tears), we left that project. Blood? Just a little.
From there, I hopped on the back of Pastor Wasan's moped to get to the local Thai family's house where I would be spending the night (backpack on tight of course for the ride over asphalt, gravel and dirt). The
Baan Nam Khem housing project
A picture of several of the houses built by relief organizations on government land for tsunami victims. The house where I stayed was in this same complex.
house was part of a series of housing developments in Baan Nam Khem built by an assortment of relief organizations on government land. Apparently, the tsunami victims who lost their homes could lease these houses (30 year lease?). There are 100s of these houses. Most appear to have 2 bedrooms (approx 10' x 10' rooms) with a small common room and attached bathroom and outdoor kitchen. There are no closets. The couple of houses I went into had electricity, indoor plumbing (squatty toilet - not western), jalousie (louvered) windows with no screens (watch out for those mosquitos!), a refrigerator, TV and very little furniture.
I stayed with a Thai family with 4 kids. Amazingly, the 6 of them all slept in one room so I could have my own room (consisting of one large mattress on the floor) and a fan (love the fan!). The family spoke very little English but I made full use of my large Thai vocabulary...umm, I said hello and thank you in Thai. I know...pretty lame. I'll get other Thai words stuck in my head soon.
Later that night I went to dinner with Pastor Wasan and the YWAMers at a small outdoor
Lunch with YWAMers
Lunch on the front porch of a nearby house.
restaurant in Takuapa (a few minutes north of us). Afterwards, I participated in a worship/prayer service with the YWAMers, which was really cool. We met in a gazebo in the middle of the housing developments. It was the final night that the two teams would be together since the Cape Town team left today for Bangkok.
YWAM teams have been coming consistently to this area since the tsunami but let me fill you in a bit more on Pastor Wasan. He has an interesting story. I'll share at least what I remember (which sadly is not all that much)...
He grew up in a small village in southern Thailand (close to the Malaysia border) with Buddhist parents. He received some Christian literature (initially a gospel tract) and developed a friendship with a local missionary. After a few months, he made the decision to follow Christ which resulted in him getting kicked out of the house by his step-father. He proceeded to go to Bible college in Bangkok where he met his wife. He became a pastor temporarily, did other work, and then returned to being a pastor. He lost his home during the tsunami. His wife (also a
Dinner with YWAM team
Having dinner in Takuapa with YWAM team from Cape Town, South Africa.
strong believer) went up north to her parents' house while he continued with ministry in Baan Nam Khem and surrounding villages. He has use of a house (not his own) where he sleeps on the floor of the common room while foreigners, who are building houses, sleep in the bedrooms.
He leads a small church of about 15 members but has a big outreach of building houses for families (regardless of their religion). He's participated in building about 60 houses in a little over a year. The cost of building a house in this area? 50,000 baht (about $1,200). Labor is generally free since he gets volunteers to help (locals and foreigners). He talks to his wife every day on the phone but only gets to see her once a week. This guy really lives the life of a servant. He's a great guy who happens to speak very good English. This really helps him in working with foreigners.
If you are interested in helping out, let me know. I can pass on Pastor Wasan's e-mail address. He doesn't just work with YWAMers. Besides me, there was also a college-aged girl from Canada and a group of 3
Entrance to my hotel (really a trendy restaurant with 5 rooms)
Japanese men (a missionary in Bangkok and 2 of his friends). I'm sure he deals with all kinds of foreigners.
As always, I'm fast-forwarding through a lot, but there is only so much time. Comprende? (do you understand? 3 years of Spanish in school has got to result in some retained knowledge, right?)
Ok, let's get you to the present. This morning I played soccer and hung out with the Thai kids I was staying with (they know more English than I know Thai, thankfully). I would point to their ears, and say "ears". They'd repeat it. I'd point to their ears later and ask them what it was, and they'd say "ears". They pick up stuff quick!
At about 9:00 this morning I left from the Takuapa bus station (this really WAS a bus station). Pastor Wasan gave me a ride (yet again!) to the bus station. I really dig this bus thing. I get to the bus station and eventually find myself on a bus headed to what I believe is Phuket. I find a really ghetto bus this time. No A/C, dirty, all Thai passengers...and multiple stops for totally unknown reasons. We'd stop and
My room looks out over the atrium? What do you call this?
some passengers would get off to buy food from a street vendor, get back on board...then the bus driver would wander off to do something. 15 minutes later we are back on the road. The drive could have been made in 1 1/2 - 2 hours. We did it in 3 hours. You know what? I love it. Absolutely love it. I could have stayed on that bus for another 10 hours. Ummm, well, I think so. I had my mp3 player going, and was listening to "Absolute" by Thousand Foot Krutch again, and again, and again. Love that song. It's an anthem rock type song from a Christian group.
Anyway, where am I now? Let me tell you. I'm in Phuket Town (again, that's Poo ket). I found a totally trendy hotel. How did I find this place? The Lonely Planet travel guide. I'm looking at this guide (just came out late last year) and it lists a hotel called "XVI" (16) that seems perfect. I walk to the area and absolutely can't find it. Finally, I start looking more closely at addresses and see this trendy bar/restaurant called "The Taste" that appears to have the same address as "XVI". I walk in and inquire, and sure enough, the "XVI" is gone and has been replaced by "The Taste". I ask about rooms (they have 5), take a look at one (like it!) and hear that it's 3,000 baht per night ($75). Sorry, too pricey for me. I start walking out. Then the lady says she'll give me a promotion rate of 30% off and only charge me 2,000 baht (sorry, but that's not 30%, that's 33 1/3%, but I really don't feel the need to correct her). Instead, I counter with "how about 3,000 baht for 2 nights?" A little, umm, well, yikes, ahhh, sure (translated very loosely). Done, and done (that's for you Jonathan and Heather!). I'm in.
The room is really cool, and that shower felt good after having skipped one this morning. I'm having laundry done now (supposedly comes free with the room). I found an internet place close by that's the best I've found so far in Thailand. Super fast speeds, and only 20 baht per hour (that's 50 cents per hour). I'd tell you the name but I don't know it - maybe Goo-net? It's behind a little food store (near the corner of Th Rasada and Th Puket) in Phuket Town. I really don't know how I find these places.
Anyway, I better finish up this blog entry. I'm trying to coordinate lunch tomorrow with Frida and Hannah (Swedish girls) at Kata Beach. Also need to book a flight from Phuket to Bangkok for the 25th so I can meet up with Jonathan.
Ok, that's it for now.
Look! There goes Dave!