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A Reinvigorating Quarantine

Coronavirus has not yet reached our remote little town, but we are getting ready for it, as it might be just a matter of time. Thailand is in lockdown, so over the past week, we have bought the essentials for cleaning and food to support us.

We are preparing ourselves physically and mentally, as we can’t control what is happening to us, but we can control how we react to it. This is our choice. The way our team leaders are handling the quarantine is amazing. The children are empowered, they feel energized. Their minds are very active, and they are starting to take more responsibility towards Baan Unrak family and Sangkhlaburi community.

We are following the government rules – even if it seems that children are not the most affected by the virus –, we do it as an act of love towards the weaker ones.

Our team is constantly thinking of new ways to keep the children busy, with a positive mind, excited by this “adventure” and, most importantly, safe.

Yogic Tricks

Didi taught us how to wash our mouths, eyes and nose… the yogic way.

Taking a mouthful of water, we splash water in our eyes at least 12 times, keeping the eyes open. This will directly cool the optic nerve, as well as clean the eyes.

Then, we flush the nose with water – only with an empty stomach in the morning – sucking water into each nostril and spitting it out from the mouth. It can also be swallowed,  but it’s better to spit it out.

Finally, we gargle water with salt. This, we learned, helps keep us healthy and clean. So we all put it into practice.

Another fundamental practice that we have learned is the “Half-bath”. It is the yogic way of balancing the body temperature, and calming and refreshing the mind, particularly before meditation, meals, asanas and sleep.

Below, the children and Zia Caterina do the Half-bath before lunch:

Special Drinks

We prepare and serve daily to the children delicious, warm herbal drinks, like the Butterfly pea flower Tea, made with the flowers grown in our garden, or the Ginger Tea, Bael Fruit Tea, Roselle and more.

Every evening they get also a very good supplement that stimulates the production of stem cells, the auto-renewal system of the body. Taken in liquid form, the children like it.

Below, the Butterfly pea flowers in our garden, and drying in the courtyard together with other wild medical leaves from our farm.

Neem Leaves

At the meditation area on top of Baan Unrak hill, around the water tank we planted different trees that purify the environment. One of these trees is a Neem tree. Its leaves have amazing medicinal properties. In fact, in addition to having effective anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, the Neem leaves are a powerful immunostimulant, and much more.

Such a powerful tree, it has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years. After our meditation, some of the girls collected the Neem leaves.

The fresh Neem leaves are brought to the kitchen, and the children consume them with their meal. It’s quite an interesting taste when mixed with rice and chilli. The children are starting to like it, as it enhance the taste of the food. In fact, the bitterness of the leaves increases salivation and improve digestion.

Sometimes, our teenager-in-charge bring the dry leaves of the Neem tree, and some of the children will crush them to make a powder to keep away the insects from the rice sacks.

Magic Sticks

Maintaining a physical distance is crucial to avoid the spread of the virus, we know that. But with 110 children at the moment, it’s the hardest part for us. It was something we were still struggling with, until our team came out with a brilliant idea:

“Now, everybody is gonna have a stick! Like the sages. Like the wise people… Now, we all need to become wise, like Rafiki (the shaman and sage monkey) in The Lion King!”

No sooner said than done, the next day everybody had their own magic stick, all personalized.

Here you can see the “making of” of a couple of magic sticks, with the help of Zia Caterina.

“EveryThing is For The BEST”

Social Distance

In order to avoid crowding in the dining hall, we eat in two shifts now – the smaller children first, half an hour later the big children. The magic sticks’ ultimate goal is to help us maintain a safe distance. See how below..!

Washing Hands

We keep reminding the children to wash their hands frequently, or as much as they can, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. We never stop to remind the children how important this habit is. We hope it will stay with them all their life.

With all these washing, we are consuming a lot of water. We are in the dry season, and our water supply becomes less and less. Therefore, we thought of a system to recycle all of our grey water to reuse it in our garden.

Small basins in the sinks collect the grey water, which is then poured in a bigger basin, from which we fill the watering cans to water the plants. The same happens with the half-bath’s water, which is collected in another big basin to be reused in the same way.

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