I don’t understand weeks or days anymore. Time in Thailand is so effervescent. Things go by slowly really fast! There are hours on end where we do nothing and hours filled with intense cerebral activity where we are surrounded by new noises, languages, places, people, smells.
I have not blogged since last Wednesday and as today is Friday, trying to figure out what happened to recount it I actually wondered if everything had only happened in 3 days.
Last Wednesday was our last day at the Burmese Child Center and though it was a sweet time is was a sad sad parting. We left without saying goodbye as the children were napping… Who knows if we will ever see these kids again… Who knows if they will even remember those two forang girls that came those two weeks.
We arrived at Grace Home, surprised to see a large banquet had been prepared! It was Graham and Lorri’s last night and it was so beautiful. The kids entertained us with Ahka and Lahu traditional dances in their gorgeous outfits, and worship songs in Thai and English. We stayed a while longer upstairs talking and drinking coffee, going home around 11Pm.
Thursday was the monlthy MMF staff meeting. IT is super interesting to see MMF function and to assess its place as an organization. There seems to be a weight on the staff and directory. A feeling of failing. Depression. Yet when we hear the reports there are so many good things happening! The issue I think has to do with the very mission of MMF. The position it takes on how to help people. They have understood and want to move past simply helping people and they wish these people to help themselves. This includes inspiring them and empowering them, working alongside them but not financing them or doing the work for them. It requires a true change of mindset. Indeed Thailand is very dependent on outside aid, mostly because the government is not supporting their people. Still this will to empower others is mixed with a slight resentment that this is not happening. We still wish to empower others in the way we want, we want them to follow our path on their own. How can we empower and inspire them to just be themselves? People see material goods others have and want them. They do not understand why they do not deserve these if others who possess them do not seem deserving to them.
I am very intrigued to see where MMF goes in the future, I hope it will involve more structural change and power of the employees who will rise forward on their own and also protect their heritage. Yet, the reality is that change is inescapable. Will village life survive the transitional period Thailand is engaging in?
I have been reading a biography of Galileo and have loved picking out the fascinating simple items of every day life that seemed so normal in the 16th and 17th centuries. And I could not help thinking of how sad it is that our societies have changed so much so as to not encompass barely any of these elements anymore. And I think of this world we live in today and how amazing it is, how built on these pasts things it is and I marvel at our evolution and transition and think of where Thailand will be in a couple years, a couple decades, centuries…
Our time in the villages this week has been very thought-provoking, given the previous outsider knowledge we have gained.
Thursday evening we drove to the airport to see Lorri and Graham off. It was tender goodbyes, hoping to someday meet again. Something Graham said to me though simple observation marked me a lot. On wednesday after the children’s performances and emotional card givings he came over to me and told me “I know you’re not a hugger” I was very surprised at this. Anyone who knows me intimately knows how much I require hugs. I demand them on a regular basis. It is difficult for me to even begin to explain and express the gaping wound that leaves me unable to be perceived by people in general as someone who’s love language is very much so physical touch. Graham’s observation touched me as I realized how people perceive me. I have been actively pursuing the task of letting myself be seen, letting myself be vulnerable. My personal issue is far too often that I have huge walls up that one little thing can break and then I am completely without boundaries. Either way this is not a healthy approach to relationships. Graham’s remarked made me realize how much of myself I hide from the world, how cold I seem and truly ponder what things in my life have led to these barriers and instinctual need for protection. Physical touch is something that nowadays I am very weary of. I would like healing from this. I want to be someone who can touch and heal and bring warmth to others I do not want barriers though I want to have boundaries. How do I put in place more of a comforting atmosphere around my personhood? So please, if you are reading this, tell yourself you will send blessing for this violated body and fear of anyone laying a hand on me, that you will send restoration to my minds interpretation of physical touch and that the next time you see me you will lay hands on me and pray for the uplifting of this temple.
Thursday night also marked the beginning of my awful stomach clenching turning and upheaving sickness. Luckily our day off was Friday and I did not miss out on anything as I lay on the bathroom floor with the shower running trying to imagine myself in the ocean. Yes. I was bitter that I could not go to the ocean to be healed. This period marks the longest time I have ever been away from salt water and my heart is sick as well as my bowels. I miss fresh water that kick starts my spirits, I miss running on the beach and rolling in sand, or searching for stain glass and summersaulting with waves. I was worried I would still be too sick to travel on Saturday to the Hmong Dormitory in Naang Province but I got enough fluids and rest to be ok on the 4hour beautiful drive up up up and around mountains of jungle and fields.
I love the mountains. We arrived in Naang and had dinner with the children who were not back home for school break. Apparently there was a lack of logistical understanding of the situation and we unfortunately did not spend barely any time with the kids the time we were at the dormitory. I felt awful on sunday so it truly was by grace that I was ok on the drive. Unfortunately Bethany was not able to join a funeral service because of my indisposition 😦
Monday we went with Jah and Chit to a Hmong Village to have surveys on Human Rights filled out.
Village life was really mind-blowing. I was especially surprised that I was not at all digging the vibes. “No I couldn’t live here” I thought to myself. Still, wanting to reconcile with my expectations I thought hard “If I had a job it would be chill!” and then I stopped. Hm… A job… What a different concept of occupation we have in our urbanized, “developed” fast passed world. People work here. For a certain season. The spend the rest of their time weaving or chilling, speaking with neighbors, cooking food… Do they want something different? Do we have a right to tell them to pretty much get it together and start developing? It feels like we’re telling people they are lazy and need to be as busy as us, not have time for day dreaming, not have time for spending time in each other’s presence… I truly wonder what these people want yet at the same time I see no future in this way of life though I strongly advocate and yearn for a return to it in my own countries… How to conciliate this?
Bethany got a serious case of cabin fever on Tuesday. Check her blog if you don’t believe me. Luckily by that time I had recovered health a little and was able to enjoy a practice that grounded me and evacuated tension. We went for a walk around the dormitory but left on our outing only around 3pm. We had taught english the evening before. I was a little apprehensive but actually really enjoyed it, going back to the amazing times I spent in Korea and Taiwan last summer and marveling at how experience really makes space for comfort. We unfortunately were not able to teach again because the Hmong community we headed out to was far and we arrived back in the evening. It was fun though, nice to be out and follow the beaming moon overhead.
On wednesday we headed out to a veeery remote Hmong village. I have loved seeing and feeling the different atmospheres in these communities that are all Hmong. We had visited a tribal museum with Dr Chulee and seen different models of tribal houses Ahka, Lahu, Hmong which didn’t seem so different yet being in them you can tell the difference and it makes sense that in the high altitude the house would be so. Dirt on the floor, bamboo woven walls vs on stilts. That night we camped in the church and I was plagued by some pretty intense night terrors, the howling dogs and blood moon making me feel very spiritually attacked and a sense that a lot of really dark stuff was happening. I had a very clear image of the Hmong pastor Kim we had visited mimicking the witch doctor rituals and chants and thinking this was the perfect night for such a ritual. The Chrisitan community we were staying with was sweet and welcoming, had been “asked to leave” by the village we visited in the evening. The village is big and very removed, it is the most remote place we have been that does seem totally self sufficient and “stuck” in a different time. The elders were wearing traditional clothes and hats, there were many large wood buildings and a pretty large road with many houses. It seemed to me like an old border town. Especially the feeling of unwelcoming of strangers that reigned. I felt like some westerner who rides into a new town and walks into the saloon getting stared down and then gets a shoot out in his hotel room. Hence the spiritual attacks. I prayed a good amount.
We were awoken at 7am to have breakfast and left around 8. Chit drove back to Jah’s and then Chiang Rai. It was good to be back in somewhat of a personal environment.
Yesterday we went over to Pete, the old MMF director’s house to spend the weekend in what feels more like downtown Chiang Rai. We were able to enjoy a really great house group with a couple of the family’s friends on Psalm 103.
I am continuously taken back by my only recent discovery that you can speak to your soul that you can direct it’s thoughts and feelings with might and mercy. The psalmist is telling his soul to bless bless bless. to remember. I’m having a hard time focusing on the depth of feelings and thoughts I experienced last night as I am sitting in a coffee shop that is playing extremely shallow and annoying remakes of classic songs that are stripped of any emotional expression.. HA.
But don’t worry, it’s all jotted down in a journal and if you talk to me in person aka chat on fbk or Skype we can pull it out i’m sure. The spirit will guide. This is what I am counting on. Also Angels. I love angels, lets stop acting like the bible doesn’t talk about them and assure us they are working all around us. HOW COOOOOL.
Also, here are interesting things I observed in the book I finished Thursday:
-Back then wine was seen as a great medicine and referred to being drunk with medication far more than water. I don’t think people drank water. But seriously medication was prescribed to be taken “with a glass of wine”. It makes sense, fermented stuff is really good for you. Having your own produce of wine or from areas that are rich in anti oxidants and such is very beneficial.
– Pope Urban the VII got made at an astrologer for predicting his death. He wrote an edict that prohibited predicting papal death or the death of a papal family member… Astrology was as valid as any science. How crazy is it to think people then took that seriously and it was totally normal. NOwadays you are seen as a heretic and as having crazy bad spiritual darkness all around you if you even refer to anything that has to do with astral science… Just interesting what is normalized or rejected in societies that see themselves as PURELY following the path of Christ…
We have tomorrow off and might go to a village, today we are hanging out in Chiang Rai and then next week, our final week we will be in Chit’s Home Karen Village.
Pray for the little things. Health but also fresh spiritual and emotional strength. Happiness, openness, space for the spirit to flow and work and a time to consider these works and bless them, calling on more. For us to be tools of renewal and uplifting of the wonderful souls living and working in Thailand.
CALL ON THE BLESSINGS!!
Also we sang at house group. That was nice 🙂
Much love to you alll!