The amount of love we feel in our hearts today is probably the most full we have ever felt. Today, we recognize our loved ones back in the States but we also have over 30 valentines here at Baan Dada. They celebrate like we do, showing appreciation to those we love with flowers, letters, music, and hearts. They also have a tradition of giving your friends a sticker. At breakfast this morning, Paho was showing us how to show someone you love them with sign language like the Thais do. Although he made a valiant effort he confused his middle finger with his pointer.
Our task for the morning was to paint the aluminum roof for the new compost building. They paint the roof to preserve it for three additional years. Here they improvise a lot so we used gasoline as a paint thinner. Safety precautions aren’t very strict either and I mistakenly wore sandals and cut my toe on the sharp roof. Blood and sweat but luckily no tears for this morning’s task.
By 11 a.m. each day it gets really hot so we moved into the weaving center. We were able to get some shade and sort the donations that the Singaporeans brought with them. They can sell these items at the market after the kids get first choice in what they need. What the girls really need are feminine products. They have to use their allowance to buy these items which is unfair as the boys do not. They are expensive and they only use pads, no tampons.
After lunch, we helped with some office work. It was relaxing to hear the band practicing while we worked. They were allowed to stay home from school to practice for the battle of the bands concert that evening in Huay Mai Lai.
From 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. we worked weeding under the greenhouse. The greenhouse was funded by Singaporeans last year with the annual bike-a-thon. The crop has started flowering with strawberries, which they hope they will be able to sell at weekly markets.
We took this time to learn more about the kids. They celebrate the birthdays of the kids by month, designating one day. Unfortunately, a lot of the kids are orphans and they do not know their birthdays or even their age so they have to make it up for them. Sadly, some of them whose parents live back in Myanmar are not cooperative. It really makes you appreciate how you grew up and what you have (thanks so much Mom and Dad). The privilege we experience as white people is very prevalent here.
After dinner, we all piled into the bus and went to support the Baan Dada Band. Three girls and two boys form the band. We cheered and presented them with heart shaped balloons while they performed. There were 15 bands throughout the night which made a perfect Valentine’s Day for any music lover. Any purchases of food, cake, games or balloons were made by buying tickets to support the Christian school where it took place. Our days here are long but it sure does make for a good night’s sleep. We hugged all the kids and wished them a Happy Valentine’s Day when we got back to the home. Love was in the air!
(We found out Mayuree’s band won!)