Holidays, Hands of Hope, and Harvesting

Voted 'most-improved' krathong (rating provided by me only). That's what happens when you extend your volunteer assignment.

Last weekend we celebrated the Loy Krathong holiday at the Garden. The staff are always so good at making sure the patients have a good time. Even though the celebrations were toned down in honor of the King's recent passing, fun was still to be had. 

Patients played games and won prizes - like chocolate soy milk and sassy headbands. Everyone created their own boat made from the banana tree - the trunk and its leaves, and then decorated with flowers. We all walked over to our pond and sent them off into the water, as a symbol of release, thanksgiving, and renewal. The night culminated with a sing-along, and a solo by one of the patient's sons. He is blind and sings to himself a large portion of each day. This time, we all enjoyed his impromptu singing with rapt attention. The last song of the evening was in honor of the King and involved another impromptu performance by two nine-year-old girls.

The week was also overlaid with some tension - due to the fact that we have hardly any current orders at Hands of Hope. Many of you have been very generous in this regard, so this is not shared to make anyone feel guilty. Rather, it is the reality of what we began the year with: a severe reduction or complete cessation of orders from our three biggest customers (all organizations that used to put in large orders every year).

I have been diligently working to send off some sample boxes and focusing on both specific and general marketing, and we have some projects in the works. But new customers like that don't happen overnight. Please keep the producers in your thoughts and prayers, as well as prayers to keep stress at a minimum for Antonia, Lauren, and myself.

Our community has begun harvesting our rice. I helped out for a grand total of 40 minutes before it was time to break for lunch. The heat doesn't hit you until you're out of it, and whew, I needed some coffee to pick me up afterwards.

And an assortment of other moments throughout the week...

Creating Cubs fans across the world - one care package at a time.

  • A short bike ride with John and a stop at a local temple and its beautiful grounds. A caretaker unexpectedly walked over to us and opened one of the buildings so we could view the Buddha.
  • A restful Sunday, including a long nap.
  • Skype calls with friends and one of my sisters.
  • A massage from one of the teens, who works at Hands of Hope, and will begin massage courses in the near future.
  • Laughter during our community night in spite of our tired selves (we have a community night each week: a planned evening with us 3 GSVs where one of us cooks a meal and another plans an activity/conversation regarding community, social justice, simplicity, or spirituality).

...Thanks for listening and reading and supporting and donating and skyping and emailing and thinking of us.