13 Sunday 2011
We started the day early morning at Cholatis’s house, which became a center for the survival kits (we called it “Young Sheep Studio). Methee and his family were waiting for us there. Pharuehat, who coordinated with the government agencies, came to pick me up.
We loaded his neighbor’s pick-up van with Khadiravana bananas and papayas. Fortunately, we have Methee’s truck and Paruehat’s car. Otherwise, it would be difficult to load all the belongings. It’s hard to believe that 210 survival bags would occupy most of the space of the two pick-ups.
By the time we arrived at the Bangphoon exit, the gathering point for all of us, it’s almost 9 am. Dao, Tor and Lek (Pilawan) were already there. They came with 170 vegetarian rice. It’s my idea to distribute vegetarian food so that people have a chance not to eat meat, which seems to be the most popular food to be given to the flood victims at this time.
The sub-district chief came to greet us. With his efficient coordination, we got three boats to take both the people and things to the evacuation centers. As the boats were not enough for our group, about 15 of us went to Wat Bungbangsingh first. The remaining volunteers would come in another boat after it had transported the food. It was a little hectic in the beginning because we had to wait for quite a long time for all of us to arrive and we didn’t know quite clearly what to do without the instructions from the sub-district chief.
After we distributed food to the evacuees at Bunbaangsingh, we moved on to another evacuation site at Wat Daoruang. Temples have become evacuation centers, even though the temples also got flooded. At Wat Daoruang, we met mainly female evacuees who have stayed there for more than two months. It’s not so hard for them to live with water. They look relaxed and joyful. This might because several groups have gone to there to visit them and because they have already adjusted themselves to the new living environment.
From this temple, we moved on to the Weruwan district. We had to wait there for quite some time because of having not enough boats for everybody. When all of us gathered at the meeting point, we started distributing the survival kits and cooked food from the top of the pick-up. It was a touching experience to meet the local people there. They were the ones who suffered most, as they didn’t want to leave their flooded homes. Our gifts were not much, but they represent our hearts that reached out to them. Their smiles and thank-yous also touched our hearts. By the time we finished our work, it was already 6 pm. We all shared the same opinion that the day was a very rewarding experience.
The foundation is grateful to all staff and volunteers who joined us on this reach out trip.