Monday in Thailand is a national holiday but it’s not recognized here at Baan Dada other than kids having the day off from school. With Sunday being an exhausting day of cycling, we were told breakfast would be served a little later. This was the first evening I didn’t have to set an alarm. Still up by 7:30, it felt nice to not be rushed.After breakfast it was time for English class with the two littlest ones, Apeh and Paho. They are still too young for school so we organize an hour of English a day. Having learned of their love for Spider Man from the day’s previous class, we came more prepared with spider man lessons centering on the days of the week, the English alphabet, and colors. What a difference tying in the interest of spider man with their English lesson made. One point for the gypsies!
Afterward, we had a big lunch ceremony with our cycling fundraisers as our guests. It was amazing to see the impact the fundraiser had on the university kids from Baan Dada. The group from Singapore raised money and biked from their homes in Singapore all the way north to the orphanage. The money helps the university students with their college expenses. Along with the funds, they brought treats and clothing donations, too. Before lunch each student stood up and in very good English described what school they attend, their major and their gratefulness to have the financial opportunity to attend school to better their future careers and life after college. The eldest Dada ended the ceremony with a brief but detailed story on the start of the orphanage. The partnership between Dada and Singapore became clear. When he needed funding for the orphanage they stepped in, offering as much as they could to build what is now known as Baan Dada today. He mentioned the culture from Singapore was very similar to his and he couldn’t get that from any other surrounding countries.
After lunch we took a much needed break and chilled at the volunteer house soon to be greeted by new volunteers, Rebecca from London and Sue and Judy from Australia. There was an instant connection with the three as we remember coming here for the first day not too long ago. We felt an even bigger connection with Sue and Judy as they are best friends, sister-in-laws in fact, and tease and love each other in the same silly ways Linds and I do.
These ladies were here on a very different mission. Judy’s daughter, Dionne, in her mid twenties, had planned to volunteer here for the third time this year when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and sadly wasn’t able to attend. Judy and Sue came in her honor bringing her remains to spread on the Baan Dada property and honor her with a ceremony this weekend. I’m still in awe of the strength these women have for making this voyage here. We filled them in on what to expect around here and joked on where we were to get our beloved night cap from. If we haven’t mentioned before, Baan Dada is a no drugs or alcohol orphanage and eat only vegan meals. Something the gypsies took on very easily, but ready for a cold brew soon. Treating the day like a chill Sunday, we were to join in meditation after dinner, which is something I have been looking forward to ever since reading about their weekly schedule before arriving. Not knowing the energy it would take, I showed up happy and ready for a short class as I was told the kids and their attention spans wouldn’t last that long. An entire hour later and I was in tears. The meditation included song-like chants while Dada played guitar. In a candle lit room was filled with the entire orphanage out of respect for their Dada. The chants were in Sanskrit and had a simple meaning, love everything around you. The music and chats together coming from the kids created an energy I’m sure words don’t do justice to describe. It was a powerful feeling. It was love, yes, but a greater, wholesome love. The room nearly vibrated with emotion. All the hard work and self care that brought us here was meant for this exact moment. I am now ready to share my wholesomeness and my heart with these kids here. What an amazing feeling. My heart has been awakened.