The end of March saw excitement growing among the children, as their sense of obligation around their school commitments started to fade away with the commencement of their school holidays looming. But before giving in to the festivities, the children had some social obligations to fulfill – both to their home Baan Unrak, and to the broader Sangkhlaburi community.
The children were happy to dedicate their mornings during the first week of the holiday period for this purpose. They felt that they were paying their debt to society which, from afar, is sustaining and supporting them. The afternoons afforded the children time to relax with their friends, whether it be chatting in their rooms, watching a movie or going to the river to swim.
Very early each morning the children were ready to serve their community at home, at the Baan Unrak Bakery or in the surrounding villages. Everybody helped the best they could and even some very small children gave a helping hand. The positive energy was both exhilarating and contagious.
Some took up duties in the home – sweeping, cooking, organizing birthday presents or just making boxes for the Baan Unrak Bakery.
The children engaged in the big cleaning of the kitchen and dining area, working together as a team and doing a great job while also having fun.
During the week, the children were also fabricating brooms with bamboo sticks and dried grass.
Others were focused on helping with our Sustainable Agriculture Project, bringing good soil from neighboring areas and preparing pots for our new experimental organic garden.
Everybody wanted to be part of the exciting Solar Light Project which aims to improve the daily lives of children and adults by providing clean and healthy lighting in the surrounding villages. The project was led by Pavitra, a much-valued volunteer who assists Baan Unrak every school holiday period. There was much jubilation among the teens that were lucky enough to be given such an important duty.
A team of Baan Unrak teenagers traveled to several poor villages to install for them the solar lights, instructing them on how they worked and how to care for them. It was wonderful to be able to deliver the solar lights to these people, knowing the long-lasting benefits such a gift provides. It was so rewarding for the children to witness the gratefulness in the eyes of the recipients, on both an emotional and an educational level.
The Homeopathic Camp (see link) that was held at the Baan Unrak Bakery provided another opportunity to serve our local community. The children were very sincere in taking good care of the patients that came for treatment, offering them drinks and baked goods. The majority of the children volunteered to stay on and assist well beyond their allocated time, from preparing the drinks in the early morning to setting up the stand, to serving refreshments for the rest of the day.
We were very pleased with the children’s enthusiastic efforts to assist around the home and support their local community. We decided to offer them a small financial reward for their selflessness, which allowed them to treat themselves at the upcoming New Year Songkran Festival. It was the best present that we could give to our children.
What a way to start the holiday!