June 22, 2013
Dear Friends and Supporters,
Time has moved at light speed this trip! Today we completed our last day volunteering at the Ban Chang Nam School in the village of Mae Taeng. The village which is nestled within the mountain side, is spotted by thatched huts weaved together by winding dirt roads and paths. This is home to the Akha people, who are part of the hill tribes residing in Northern Thailand. Yogamour volunteers have spent the last week volunteering at the school with an unconditional labor of love.
As we were met by children with tanned faces and brilliant eyes every morning, each of our volunteers contributed their time, skill and devotion to the school. Dr. Sissy and her assistant Darragh laboriously improved smiles daily! Six hour days throughout the week allowed them to see all 81 of the children at the Ban Chang Nam School, filling approximately 70 permanent teeth, and over a dozen tooth extractions. Morning yoga quickly became Darragh and Sissy's counter pose to long hours of dentistry. Dr. Sissy's selfless contribution to the Yogamour Smiles project included the transport of her mobile dental unit and all of the necessary surgical equipment half way around the world. Needless to say this has been a tremendous success (without too many tears ;).
Maddie and Keagan also found some artistic talent amongst the children in their Love Elephant Art Project. Through the use of crafts and facts, they succeeded in bringing awareness to the school concerning the plight of elephants in their homeland. Yogamour is going to have a blast displaying this art work on cards and stationery!
Beccah and Margie spent ample time interacting with each activity, playing circus and floating children down the outdoor breezeways to and fro the dental chair. Everyone remained gainfully employed! And when not participating at the school, the volunteers could be found zip lining over the jungle, learning to cook authentic Thai cuisine or bathing and riding elephants.
Our last evening in the village was enjoyed by another satisfying dinner at the Bamboo Country Lodge. After dinner, we lit the darkness of the jungle releasing our fire burning lanterns into the sky with a promise to return. This ritual is celebratory of a Buddhist tradition in Thailand which signifies an accumulation of good deeds, acts or thoughts that carry over to later in life or into one's next life.
The volunteers are now dispersing towards home or venturing on to travel Southern Thailand. It has been unanimous that our journey to Thailand has cultivated new found friendships in our hearts, and a shift in perspective that will forever impact the future of our lives.
Love to all,