2/3/11This month of ministry is what I pictured all the months would look like
when I signed up for The World Race. We are in Chiang Mai, Thailand,
staying at an all-girls orphanage called Remember Nhu. This is the first
month we we have had to use our tents. It’s strange because we are camping
outside the home of the house parents of the orphanage and they have set up
one room with two beds for two girls to sleep in each night. The first and
second nights, World Racers were fighting over who could sleep in their own
tent and not have to sleep inside.
Our “camp” is about a two minute walk down a dirt road to the orphanage. On
the side of the road is a trench that was dug out by a previous World Race
team. I think there have been three or four World Race teams here before.
Typically, when the Race comes to Thailand, the women and the men are
separated and the women usually work with prostituted women and the men do
physical labor, and call the month “manestry month” instead of ministry. We
were told by our contacts that this is the first time they have had women
racers here. It seems kind of ironic that we are on the all women’s team
and we are engaging in “manestry.”
Yesterday, our first day of work, we dug about 15 holes about 16 inches
deep with pick-axes, bending/broken shovels, and a giant metal rod. I would
get the holes deeper once the pick axes weren’t able to anymore. My hands
felt the pain this morning, after ramming a metal rod with a wedged end
into the ground several hundred times yesterday. We are building a larger
chicken coupe that should last years, so the holes were necessary for the
poles. Many people reading this probably know all about this, but it is new
to me and it’s nice to learn, firsthand, how much effort really goes into
things like this.
I think it’s also been a blessing that I don’t have a lot of knowledge on
this type of stuff because I don’t really know what I’m missing (like nice
tools). There was a giant rock in one of the places were we needed to make
a hole, so I was basically a human jack-hammer for about an hour trying to
break it and making only about 2 inches of progress. However, I’m learning
skills like mixing cement without a cement mixer and digging holes without
a hole digging tool.
The surroundings here are beautiful and I will try to put up pics soon, but
until then word pictures will have to suffice. The orphanage is gorgeous
and seems like it is in the middle of nowhere. There are nice white tiles
and white walls which gives a clean look. You have to take off your shoes
before you enter a house in Thailand, therefore the floors don’t get too
dirty. When you walk outside of the orphanage you can see the mountains
with trees covering them. You walk down the dirt road to our camp and you
see what I imagine Africa looks like, since there is a dirt road and those
trees that you see on The Lion King.
The home by our camp is modest, but nice. There is a bathroom in the
shed-type thing on the side of the house. There is another building with
three bathrooms, and if you want to take a shower there it is a bucket
shower. However, if you use the shower at the house there is actually a
faucet. It’s weird though, there’s just a drain on the floor so you take a
shower right there in the bathroom, there’s no separated area that
designates a shower.
If you follow the dirt road out, there is a main, paved road. Right across
the street, there’s another girl’s orphanage, and we will be eating about
half of our meals there (I think we will trade off: lunch at one orphanage
and then dinner at the other). There is a small canal type thing and right
next to that is a frontage road, where we had our first team run/walk. When
you first walk out onto the main road it looks like you could be looking at
the mountains in Arizona. When we were running next to the canal I kept
thinking about the movie the Darjeeling Limited (one of my favorites).
It gets nice and warm during the day, there has been a lot of sweat when
I’ve been working. But at night, it gets really chilly. I am thankful for
my warm sleeping bag for the nights here. Apparently, there are three
seasons here: hot, cool, and rainy, and the cool season will be going until
the end of February.
So, when the girls are at school we will be doing a lot of manual labor,
then in the evenings we eat dinner with the girls and socialize afterwards.
That is basically what I think the month will consist of. I will write more
about the girls when I get to know them better.
Thanks for checking in!
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