This was one of the most difficult yet rewarding days since we started our Gypsy Givers venture. As Linds and I have mentioned numerous times, Sue and Judy instantly shared a special place in our hearts. From their quick one liners and their don’t take things too seriously attitude, to their deep routed soul sister love for each other and their families, we felt connected in such a big way.Sue and Judy came to Baan Dada to not only volunteer but to rest Judy’s daughter, Dionne, to peace. Dionne was 32 years old and a regular here at Baan Dada having visited a few times over the past few years. Every return trip home she would explain to Judy and her family about the orphanage and her love for volunteering here and the kids. After spending time here I can easily see why. My head starts spinning of ways to help more while I’m not presently here and how quickly can I come back. Dionne, Linds and I have Baan Dada in common and we’ve never even met her.
This past year, Dionne lost the battle to ovarian cancer. Judy and Sue came to volunteer in her place. During their time here they planned to celebrate Dionne by planting a tree and spreading her ashes.
So today we had a different type of day at Baan Dada. The four of us got up early and rode the bus with the kids to their schools. They were all clean in their uniforms and sleepy eyed as any other kid would be but happy to be sharing the ride together. The mornings are cold in the jungle so we all piled in and sat closer to each other, cuddling through the bumpy ride into town. The town of Sangkhlaburi is home to the Mon Bridge, the longest, wooden, hand made bridge in the world. After the ride, the four of us spent the morning drinking coffee and searching for tea for the Brits. We walked across the bridge together, laughing and teasing one another. Stopping every few feet to take in the beauty of the landscape and of course take a picture. We bought silly matching souvenirs and the moms had traditional style skirts made for tonight’s ceremony. We ate breakfast in town before heading back to Baan Dada.
Once back home we quickly started working. Tonight was nothing short of special. Dada had a vision in mind and we were his little sidekicks to see it through. The plan for the evening was to all join in the music room after dinner. While the moms were helping in other areas on the farm, Becca, Melina, Linds and I took on a different role for the afternoon. We worked with what little materials we had and created handmade floral garland and other floral arrangements with bamboo and banana tree limbs as our vases. We placed candles along the room and leading to an outside path behind the music building to the garden. Everything we had to use was from the home or on the farm, and everything we did to help was done from love in the deepest of our hearts. As I arranged flowers or dug holes, with each movement I kept my mind on Dionne. I tried to imagine her time here, her love for the kids and the home. Everything we did this afternoon was for her.
As usual, dinner and the kids were loud with laughter and clean up. This was our last dinner together and the kids were just as sad as we were. Hugs were shared as we were eating and cleaning up. Afterward we all gathered in the music room and sat on the floor. The ceremony was to begin with meditation, my favorite. Although this time was different with Paho and Apeh in our laps we contributed and chanted to the vibrations of love. Just as emotional as our first meditation class but different because we were now a part of it. Afterward, we each took a flower and walked as a group to Dionne’s garden. Led by Dada, Judy and Dionne we sang in Sanskrit while each of us placed a flower, rock, or brick to help rest Dionne here. We held each other, supported each other and will all share this moment with each other for the rest of our lives. The kids are so strong and loved. It was an honor to be part of this special night.
We returned back into the music room and spoke of Dionne. Judy and Sue started by speaking to us about memories Dionne would share with them after her trips here. Katie, an Australian volunteer who became close with Dionne after meeting here came for the ceremony and will spend some time here afterward volunteering at the home. Another repeat volunteer, hint hint. Girls and boys got up in groups to support each other as they spoke of their love and shared memories of Dionne. A slide show was put together by Melina and we all laughed through tears as the kids remembered how young they were during their visits with Dionne.
The night was a night I will hold forever. The love shared here will keep us strong and motivated to keep spreading good karma and sharing our love with the world through our travels and the people we meet when volunteering. We never met Dionne but know her from her mom, Sue, Dada, and the kids here. Her love for travel and the love we share for Baan Dada connect us as she was a true Gypsy Giver. This post is dedicated with love to Dionne.