Harp and Story

Putting It All Together

We went to Bangkok yesterday, always a long and tiring journey. We did find the few needed items to finish putting together the aqua-ponics system for Bamboo School.

Bamboo School boys level the hillside for the aqua-ponics system.

Bamboo School boys level the hillside for the aqua-ponics system.
Cleaning the glue out of the IBC totes - GO Girls!
Cleaning the glue out of the IBC totes – GO Girls!

The boys had leveled off the hillside on Sunday and the girls had worked on scrubbing out the IBC totes.

Momo Cat and Matthew scrub out the fish tank.
Momo Cat and Matthew scrub out the fish tank.

Matthew and Momo cleaned out the last of the glue in the tote for the fish Tuesday morning before we left for the city. Steve is plumbing today and the boys who are not in school, (they arrived after the Thai government school began their semester and Thailand does not allow for late arrivals), these boys are carrying up gravel from a pile at the clinic and then washing it here by the bathroom block before it gets put in the cut-down totes.

Conagee and Matthew wash gravel for the Aqua-ponics grow beds.
Conagee,  Matthew and Eric wash gravel for the Aqua-ponics grow beds.

I think maybe they wish they were in school after-all!

The grow beds are almost ready for gravel.
The grow beds are almost ready for gravel.

Coming back to the school last night from our trip to Bangkok, about 1:00 a.m., the entire rear, passenger side, (for those of us who drive on the correct side of the road that would be the driver’s side rear!), wheel assembly flew off the ambulance. We felt a bump and then heard a grinding, knocking noise and then like a flat tire and within milli-seconds the axel was dragging on the road. Thankfully, we had slowed down for a very rough railroad crossing so our speed was maybe 35 when the tire left the car. Cat was driving and managed to drag the car to more or less the side of the road. At first we thought we had a flat and we’d just change the tire, but upon closer inspection two of the lug bolts that hold the wheel to the axel had shired off. Steve went looking for our missing parts and much further back up the road he found the wheel with tire still inflated, and one of the lug bolts with the nut still attached. Cat is going to have to get a new rim, for that one is pretty damaged. The truck skirting got pulled in and dented up when the tire made its escape as well. Soon two Patrol Police pulled up on their motorcycle and then two policemen in a Toyota Hillux came and stopped before the railroad tracks providing a road block for us complete with flashing lights. Cat, even after all her years in Thailand doesn’t speak fluent Thai and we don’t speak Thai at all, so it was quite amusing trying to communicate what happened. The police thought Steve was the driver and had fallen asleep at the wheel – one officer gave him an “energy drink” to wake him up. Steve kept trying to tell him that he didn’t need it, but they were insistent, so he finally drank it. Uug! That satisfied them. Cat called Tooey back at the school and she ended up speaking with the policeman in a three-way conversation; Cat telling her the story, she translating it for the policeman and then telling Cat what the policemen were saying. The long and the short of the night was: Tooey drove the other ambulance down to pick us up and the police called a “tow truck” to take our car to the police station. The tow truck was a Mazda pick-up with a lift mounted in the bed. It did the job, we were thankful. We got back to Bamboo School around 4:00 a.m. Didn’t get up for 5:15 worship this morning though!

Today’s trivia:  Malarial mosquitoes only come out between the hours of sunset to sunrise, that’s why we sleep under mosquito netting in malaria infested areas of which Bong Ti is one such area.  Some varieties of daytime mosquitoes carry denge fever and chickkundungyah (sp) fever – neither one of which would make your day!  Have a good one!!

Our Home Sweet Home at Bamboo School.
Our Home Sweet Home at Bamboo School.

Dok Mai

Dok Mai, which means beautiful flower, is ready for school
Dok Mai, which means beautiful flower, is ready for school

Dok Mai

Shabbat afternoon I was sitting on my front porch veranda enjoying the quiet, (I think most of the kids had slipped off to the village), and trying not to do one more thing than was necessary, (the day was very hot and sweat rolls down ones forehead and stings the eyes if too much exertion is required, not to mention the stickiness of skin and clothes to skin – anyway, you probably get the picture!) when precocious 4 year old DokMai comes to visit.  “Hi Teacha,” she shyly calls from behind the porch railing.  “You want to come up?” I ask.  Eagerly she nods her head, “well, come up then.”  In an instant the shoes are off and she is on the porch veranda cuddled up next to me.  In only a few moments she moves away with, “it’s hot,” as she fans her face with her hand.  We end up spending the afternoon looking at pictures on my computer – all the ones I had of Bamboo School from previous years and with still an appetite for more I begin showing her pictures of my family.  She giggles and laughs and asks me questions, some pictures she wants to look at several times, especially the ones of my grandchildren, quickly she learns their names and can identify them as she sees them come up in the slide show.  One particular picture she has me go back to several times; it is of Dylan, my 8 year old grandson.  I think Dylan might have been 5 in this picture.  We were at cousin Lonnie’s house for the Rees Family Thanksgiving reunion and Dylan is riding a miniature version of a John Deere tractor with front loader and trailer.  After studying the picture intently for several seconds she announces to me in all seriousness, “I want to go there!”

Tears came to my eyes as I hugged her for she is a beautiful, inquisitive, intelligent (she already speaks 3 languages fluently), child without a country.  She is from a tribal group of people that are constantly living in some level of fear for their lives; pushed from their native country of Burma, most now live as refugees along the Thai border.  DokMai was only 400 grams when she was born, abandoned by her mother, she was given to Momo Cat of Bamboo School when she was just a few weeks old.  There have been many in DokMai’s short life that would have eagerly and most willingly adopted her and taken her to live in some well-developed country, but she has no papers with which to legally leave the country or to be legally adopted, so she stays at Bamboo School as one of Momo Cat’s kids and all the rest of us are her adopted auntie’s and uncles.  I guess that will have to do!

Aqua – Ponics for Bamboo School

Steve and Tooey bring home the IBC totes using the infamous green machine!

Steve and Tooey bring home the IBC totes using the infamous green machine!

Another Shabbat is almost upon us so…SHABBAT SHALOM from Bamboo School, Bong Ti, Thailand!

It has been a busy last few days as we have been driving all over this province trying to find and then collect all the parts necessary to put together this aqua-ponics system.  But HOORAY! The parts are finally assembled and the tank cutting has begun.  If we ever settle down someplace long enough to have a garden I want Steve to make me one of these systems!  So far we have spent less than $600.00 US for all the parts to assemble.  There is still gravel and plants to finish up the project, but not bad for a year-round consistent source of vegies and fish!  Thank you all ho so generously gave toward making this aqua-ponics project happen for Bamboo School.  We hope to return in the near future to build an aqua-ponics system for the village of Nang Kwan Kan where Gary and Karen Sloan minister so fervently and effectively for YHVH.  There is a lot of interest in aqua-ponics around here.  Bamboo School will be the model for many more to come, I think!  Thank you to all who so generously gave to help make this project a reality!

The totes we were able to acquire transported glue so they are sitting in the sun as I write this post to let the glue dry so it can be peeled off by the kids, either later today or Sunday.  It was difficult to find totes that were safe for agriculture and fish farming, the majority of totes transport hazardous materials that cannot be cleaned effectively enough for our purposes.  These totes are popular items among the farmers in Thailand as they are relatively inexpensive and can be used for water storage during the dry season as it is now.  The hazardous materials stored in the totes that are for sale make me wonder what kind of health concerns these totes might cause for farming use.  And how would one know if the vegetables or other food stuffs or water to farm or drink hasn’t been stored in a hazardous material tote.  There is not much regulation about such things in Thailand. Not that I am for more regulation!It’s hot here and the little breeze that floats by from time to time is always welcome!

All the parts for the aqua-ponics sytem are assembled and waiting.

All the parts for the aqua-ponics sytem are assembled and waiting.
The kids have been clearing an area for the system's new home.
The kids have been clearing an area for the system’s new home.
Steve takes a break from cutting the totes into grow beds, a sump and a fish tank.
Steve takes a break from cutting the totes into grow beds, a sump and a fish tank.
The totes are cut to size, now just have to get the glue out!
The totes are cut to size, now just have to get the glue out!

In the Villages of Thailand

60 hours after we left CA we are finally with our friends the Sloan’s in the Bruu village of Nang Khan Kan in northeastern Thailand where they have been ministering for the last 28 years.  We all will be leaving this village for Bangkok on Monday evening the 21st of January where they will be flying back to the states and we will be going on to Bong Ti Bon and Bamboo School, an orphanage/boarding school four hours west of Bangkok on the Thai/Burma border.

The Mekong River that separates Thailand from Laos

The Mekong River that separates Thailand from LaosThe Mekong River

We flew on Singapore Air and I must say that is one nice airline!  Good service, good food, friendly attendants, more leg room – even in economy with footrests to boot!  But what has really put my stamp of approval on this airline is the Singapore airport with its free lounge areas complete with reclining chairs, soft, pleasant music, dimmed lights where one can stretch out and actually sleep.  Anyone who has traveled on long international flights can appreciate what it means to have a place to stretch out and sleep!  Singapore Airport is also a feast for the eyes with orchid gardens scattered throughout the international terminal.  Sorry there is no picture for you, but the batteries in the camera were exhausted – from the long flight I guess!
Another new experience for us was a stop-over in Seoul, Korea.  Steve and I keep track of all the countries that we visit including those that are only airport visits and this trip has added two new countries to our list!  Our flight took us up and over Alaska, the Bering Sea, down the coast of Siberia, China and then Korea.  A cold flight it was, glad we brought coats even though we knew we most likely wouldn’t need them in Thailand or in Australia where they have been suffering through days with temperatures over 110 degrees F.We cleared customs with no problem and wanting to check and send emails we went to a free internet area, couldn’t get on though so decided to go find something to eat.  As we were searching out our options Steve suddenly remembered our computer, he had left it at the free internet area.  Oh no!  As he hurriedly retraced our steps through the airport I prayed.  Please Abba, have mercy upon us and let our computer be where we left it.  What seemed an eternity later, but was actually only about 10 minutes, I see Steve coming with our computer in hand.  YHVH takes care of His kids even  when they foolishly blunder!

We left the Bangkok airport after our lunch of chicken stir-fry and steamed rice for me and beef stir-fry and steamed rice for Steve, (very good BTW!) and took, for the first time, the City Line air train from the airport to Phaya Thai and then transferred to the BTS for the ride up to MoChit.  We had to navigate our luggage up and down several flights of stairs; the down wasn’t so hard, but the up was exhausting – where are the elevators!  Got a taxi to take us from the BTS MoChit stop to the Bangkok Bus Terminal, (a very busy place indeed!) where six hours later we left on the 8:30p.m., overnight bus to Mukdahan.  Got in about 7:00 a.m. and it was with a great relief to find Isaac and Karen Sloan with Cadance waiting for us!   They took us out to Thai breakfast of various vegetables in yummy sauces, omelets, fresh fruits – watermelon, guava,

Buying skirts for our Bamboo School sponsored daughters
Buying skirts for our Bamboo School sponsored daughters

pineapple and others that I can’t name and then to the street markets for whatever reason one might have to go browsing through the early morning markets.  I found three lovely skirts to take as gifts for our sponsored daughters at Bamboo School and some natural herb remedy specially blended for coughs.  Steve has had a cough that he has not been able to shake since our time in Israel for the 2011 harvest season.  He was reluctant, but I made some tea for him anyway and he did drink it.  We’ll keep at it until the herbs are used up.  Can’t hurt I figure, but it would be interesting to know what’s in it!Last night, our first night in the village, some believers invited us to their home for dinner, about 12 along with the five of us.  We sat on woven mats outside in the covered garden and feasted on “hot pot” – fresh leafy green vegetables mixed in hot broth along with beef strips and rice noodles and then some purple potatoes steamed in a creamy, sweet sauce for dessert.  After dinner Steve got out his harp and began to play.  Joe, the Sloan’s daughter-in-law’s brother who is also one of the leaders of the village congregation, said the evening couldn’t have been more perfect; great food, family, new friends and precious old friends and the music of heaven!

Steve instructs Joe on the harp
Steve instructs Joe on the harp

We sang some songs together and then I had a spontaneous ministry opportunity with a young man stilled plagued with remnants of his old life, even though now a believer in our precious Savior he still from time to time comes under thoughts of condemnation and temptations of suicide.  I pray the seeds were dropped in fertile ground and will produce much fruit for YHVH’s glorious kingdom!

Where we are staying in the village with the Sloans
Where we are staying in the village with the Sloans
Water buffalo in the back yard rice paddy!
Water buffalo in the back yard rice paddy!

We slept deep and sweet last night – the sleep of the contented, but exhausted!  Tonight is Shabbat for us; so a day early we say SHABBAT SHALOM to all of you our dear friends!