Make a Munchkins Day

Mother’s Day is a big event in Thailand, so naturally, they take 4 days to celebrate it. For my kids in town, a long weekend means a shopping trip to Bangkok or a sleepover with junk food and new computer games, but its a long, lonely weekend for too many of my little munchkins in Koh Siray with no mommies or daddies.

As I was leaving last Friday (not to return until the following Wednesday) this little chunky monkey grabbed me around the waist and said, “Teacha sleep here? 4 day long time” By here, he meant the orphanage next to the school.  Over 100 munchkins from my school live there as a result of losing their families to the Tsunami or being removed from abusive homes.

I always have to make extra time for little man on the left.  He's the smallest boy in the class and is always getting strong armed out of the group hug.  As you can see he isn't quite as close as he'd like to be and he'd really prefer if Ball (chunky monkey) would back off a little.
I always have to make extra time for little man on the left. He’s the smallest boy in the class and is always getting strong armed out of the group hug. As you can see he isn’t quite as close as he’d like to be and he’d really prefer if Ball (chunky monkey) would back off a little.

I haven’t kept everyone updated on all the changes around here this summer, but I’ve left the high school in Phuket Town where I taught last year (Ben still teaches there) to work at a small school on the neighboring island of Koh Siray. It’s less than 10 minutes from my old school but worlds away in terms of socioeconomics. Those of you who have seen it can attest that it looks like The Elephant Graveyard from The Lion King and just like the Elephant Graveyard, you really don’t want to be there after dark.

Yes those are large aggressive (probably diseased) monkeys roaming around near the school, and yes that guy is wearing a KFC bucket on his head....don't ask, they do a lot of meth here
Yes those are large aggressive (probably diseased) monkeys roaming around near the school, and yes that guy is wearing a KFC bucket on his head….don’t ask, they do a lot of meth here
This is not common just five minutes up the road, but once you cross into the Ratsada neighborhoods, you see a dramatic change
This is not common just five minutes up the road, but once you cross into the Ratsada neighborhoods, you see a dramatic change

Koh Siray is home to the Sea Gypsies, a migrant community with its own language and religion who rarely use currency or integrate themselves into society. This means their children do not attend school. My school has encouraged these kiddos to join classes (something that would never be allowed in town due to extremely prejudice attitudes towards the migrant community) but its a steep learning curb as almost none of them can read or write and many parents prefer their children to work instead of learn.

The Sea Gypsy Village itself is a makeshift settlement with no running water or sanitation where families live 10 to a room. Domestic violence and sexual abuse are common. Not a day has gone by at school that a child doesn’t gasp and cower away from a high five for fear that I’m going to hit them. But once they’ve decided that I’m not going to hurt them, I can’t get those little snuggle bunnies off me, they want hugs and kisses so desperately.

Snuggling and photos, two things that never stop with these munchkins
Snuggling and photos, two things that never stop with these munchkins

The orphanage in Koh Siray is self sufficient in terms of funding. They can provide the kids with decent clothes, food and healthcare but the need for love and affection oozes out of their little puppy dog faces each day when its time to go home. At 4pm, they sprint towards me at the school gate screaming, ” TEACHA ONE PLEASE!!!!!” (Goodbye hug)

Hugs and play dates with Teacha are free but small gifts go a long way in communicating love to them as our verbal communication is somewhat limited. If you would like to donate and Make a Munchkins Day, I’ll buy them a book or toy and go play with them on your behalf, because let’s face it, their present is only fun if it comes with someone to play with.

 

Donate

They don't have expensive taste, it's just a matter of being able to buy enough to go around....hugs are still free though
They don’t have expensive taste, it’s just a matter of being able to buy enough to go around….hugs are still free though

I am also saving and collecting donations locally to do a weekend activity each month. Today we did “Bracelets and Bubbles” which was a big hit. In true crasian form, they wore down the battery on both my camera and my ipad from “take photo” and I left with a broken shoe, 4 oddly placed “Elsa” braids, and no voice left.

I wish on Mothers Day that they had good mommies to buy them Frozen pajamas and tuck them into bed in their very own room, but at least tonight they will go to bed with bracelets on their wrists and bubbles around their neck, knowing that Teacha will be back tomorrow with more hugs.

I only allow them the use of one app in my ipad but boy do they take full advantage of it.  I have to hand it to them though, this one gets the theme across, I'm seeing both bubbles and bracelets featured. Good job munchkins!
I only allow them the use of one app in my ipad but boy do they take full advantage of it. I have to hand it to them though, this one gets the theme across, I’m seeing both bubbles and bracelets featured. Good job munchkins!

Happy Thai Mother’s Day Mom, I love you!

2 Replies to “Make a Munchkins Day”

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