Been, learnt and returned
Well it’s over a week later and what a week it has been! The visitors were blessed with both loving and encouraging mothers who made the study tour great with wonderful hospitality and adding to it with wonderful trips. On many days the visitors had been for walks before 9 am and often had honest chats about what they had learnt.
The thanks they gave expressed was truly felt as the tears rolled at the point of leaving Lancaster for the airport.
Hugging became the new norm and very natural to them shortly after the first day or two.
The translators were wonderful covering all the visits and finding the new knowledge broadening their understanding as they shared what had been said in English into Thai.
Sally did a great job coordinating over 50 offers of help and making a seamless schedule. The logistics, which were no easy feat to organise, looked effortless and smooth to the Thais.
The visits worked wonderfully with the home visits, chances to engage with students and the final talk about child protection and welfare services.
The nurses learned many new tricks and even got some free resources to take home.
The whole study tour was an eye opener for all, but especially those who are caregivers/ ward mums.
One of the group received sad news that her father had passed away while she was here. She still managed to come to all the events, but the hospice was a challenging visit for her, particularly as it was the day after she had heard and the topic of death was repeatedly mentioned due to the nature of the service the hospice provides. It was in some respects helpful, as we were able to draw on the staff’s trained sensitivity to give her the space and support she needed.
The main thing that we saw from their feedback was that ‘people with disabilities have rights’ and are ‘not a burden to society and their families, but a gift’. It was powerful to hear them say that.
One night, we had a meal in the hut in Sally’s garden, where the visitors got to create Thai food for us and roast marshmellows on the fire pit. They all shared what had impacted them the most and it was lovely to hear. They all wrote a note in the ‘visitors book’ and one was in English.
The final two days consisted of a trip to the Rydal Water Coffin Way, which was a slow walk due to all the selfies that were needing to be taken.
Charity shopping followed before a lovely farewell meal and Sunday morning in church.
The group headed home on Sunday and have returned safe with all the donated nappies and medical milk supplies they could manage within their 30 kgs. They did a mighty amount of shopping in Poundland and Primark, but thankfully all the bags got there safely with them.
We ask your prayers for them as they manage their jet lag and reverse culture shock, as well as the heat and challenges of work again. Pray for them as they decide what projects to do and put what they saw into action with the children in their care. Pray that those who have been in previous years will encourage and support them to implement what they saw. We ask God to keep their hearts open to the opportunities and believe they can make a positive difference and influence others.
Watch this place. Thank you to all those who helped make this Disability Awareness Tour possible in the biggest and smallest ways. Your support was wonderful.