Liz helps out in more ways than expected
Liz was one of the Huahin holiday volunteers and she supported Mr G on the holiday last August. See HUAHIN HOLIDAY 2018 for details. As a teacher, her school break comes right in the middle of the hot season in Thailand, but even so, she was still keen to return and help for that time.
She arrived on a Sunday evening and, although the following Monday was a bank holiday, we went in anyway and worked with the children. Mr C was on sick ward, so we didn’t see him and we didn’t get to Miss N, but the little ones and Mr B came out and played. The children did seem to recognise her which was lovely. It was great to hear her say that Mr G and Miss A were bigger and, along with Mr B, were also more able.
It was also great to be able to chat with her and talk about her previous experience and how that had made an impact on her life. In the eight months since then, so much has changed for Liz and she has grown in confidence and in her faith immensely. She had some long busy days with me in this week and coped wonderfully. You can read about the busy day we had in the previous post ( One busy day in many ) and see some of the fun we had while she was here. Look out for two other blogs coming called ‘Cinderella trip’ and ‘Leg treatment’ for more of the activities where Liz helped me.
One other thing where Liz really helped was with time to chat outside of work. We went for meals, ate ice cream and the best bit was a tropical island holiday.
I rarely do the whole beach bathing thing for valid reasons, but took the chance with some extra funds I’d been given to do it and so we went off to one of the islands people say is one of the most beautiful. Nicknamed by some the Maldives of Thailand, the beauty in pictures seems fake until you get there. The journey there was tiring using taxi, airplane, minivan, speedboat and tuk-tuk cart, but worth it.
The island of Koh Lipe has three main beaches, sensibly named Sunset, Sunrise and Pattaya. For those of you who know anything about Thailand, Pattaya has the idea of party related to the word. This Pattaya Beach is a tame version of the beaches in Pattaya City, but was the party beach with music and bars etc. The whole island is calm, relaxing and rustic, without the full-on tourist feel. The locals are fun and friendly and it was exactly what I needed.
It’s been a busy year, even without the big projects which were put on hold intentionally. Donations and opportunities have kept me planning, prepping and resourcing things, as well as children’s challenges (that you can read about in other blogs).
Liz and I had time for plenty of rest, swimming in the lovely clear and pleasant sea, walking on powder white sands, finding hidden coves and going on a taxi boat before scaling cliffs to see the view from above (even though my footwear was not up to the task). I got to take loads of lovely pictures too.
It was Songkran break, so we expected the traditional water fight to be going on every day, but on this island at least, there was only one day of waterguns, talc and hoses. It was fun for a time, but we were glad it was not the whole time.
Liz had been wanting to chat with me about some off-the-cuff comments I had made in the time we were working and felt encouraged to invest in caring about my well-being. This was really sweet and the timing could not have been better. Her ideas and thoughts were insightful and appreciated.
The holiday was only four days three nights but we were recharged even though we did get some sunburn – me more than Liz.
Liz had one more day on our return to Pakkred and of course we went to see the children, even though it was still Songkran bank holidays.
Liz was able to be with the children for a bit longer before her flight in the evening. Having her here was lovely and it was great to see how far she has come since we first met. I’m glad her experiences, both before and now, have been things God could use to bless her and I’m thankful for her willingness to care for me, as well as the children.
I received this message from Liz after her return:
“Having been to Thailand before I kind of knew what to expect and was not as anxious as last time. However I grew a new appreciation for what Nicola truly has to do. This time round we got to take 12 children to watch a play which had its own challenges especially seeing as these were not the children Nicola normally works with. It was difficult watching the result of a child having a seizure as I had never seen one before. Having said this it was so rewarding watching the children behave so well even though they are not used to going out. Being able to interact with other children really allowed me to connect more with the orphanage and the beautiful souls that they have in there. I think one of the things that you have to learn when working there is that you have little to no control over how the day is going to go and have to be prepared to do anything even if it means watching a trampoline being rolled off a truck and into the park. The experience I had this time was one very different to the one before and I was particularly overjoyed with having built a good relationship with Nicola. I have strengthened my relationship with God throughout this whole process and I am eternally grateful to have been given the opportunity to return.”
Thank you, Liz. All the best for work and may your jetlag not be too bad.