Every day may seem quite the same, but yesterday, I got to be a part of something I have never experienced before. The day started pretty normal. Well, relatively normal. We were picked up by someone from the social department in the area, and drove off to the border between Thailand and Laos. We stopped at a border market, with both local and Laotian products. The most fascinating was all the food, though. They had literally everything there. Toads? We got it. Barbecued buffalo skin? We got it. And all the vegetables and fruits you could ever dream of. I wouldn’t try everything I saw there, but it was most definitely an experience out of the ordinary.
There were so many people there. Some people were just walking around at the market, but even more people were driving to and from the shore of the Mekong River. It was crowded there, but it didn’t seem like a common place for foreigners. People glanced at me a lot, and I heard the word Farang multiple times, which basically means foreigner, which implied that they didn’t see many foreigners coming and going in the area. We found a nice little restaurant and ate some lunch there. Eventually, it was time for what we went this far for.We drove a bit further, and stopped in a small village. Just inside one of the houses, a big family were sitting on the floor. Four women and two children. Even more people arrived as we entered the house. Words were exchanged, papers were signed, everybody seemed pleased. After both some formal and informal talk, we had to go again. But we had one more passenger on the way back home. My boss Kwaang carried the youngest of the boys in her arms to the car, and placed him on her lap. He seemed so trustful. Not a single tear on his chin. Well, that was not until he understood what was actually happening. He cried and shouted mae, he reached his arms towards the window, trying to get hold on the woman he called mom. I had difficulty holding back the tears even on his behalf. The crying and sobbing continued for a long time, it stopped only when he was too tired and fell asleep.
We arrived at the shelter, and he had started to trust Kwaang a bit now. She had prepared some toys for him, but he was not interested in a single toy. He just wanted to keep close, he did not want to loose his grip around her. Kwaang had to go to the market together with her mother, so it was my turn to try to get to know him. Once again he started crying, but he calmed down quite quickly. Some humming did the trick this time. The children at the shelter came home from school and joined us. Some of the children tried to hold him, but he refused. Then the kitten came, and his focus was only on the cat. He raised up, walk towards the kitten and sat down on the lap of one of the girls. A new friendship started in that moment.
For the rest of the evening, he wouldn’t let go of the girl, he even started calling her mae. At dinnertime, he calmed down when she was around. At showertime, he calmed down when she was around. The most amazing moment was at bedtime, when she went away to pick up her bed linens. He cried for mae the whole time, but when she arrived again, he calmed down and went to sleep in just seconds. Luckily, she is a girl with a big heart. I don’t know many teenagers who would willingly give so much of themselves without getting anything in return.
Things are about to change here at the shelter. This little boy has come to stay with us. His parents are unable to take care of him, and the rest of his family is unwilling to take care of him. He is left with no one around him, like so many others in this area. It’s a great joy to have him here, but I can’t stop feeling sorry for him at the same time. We will do our best to give him all the love, nurture and support he needs, and I hope you can help us out a bit too. By pressing this button, you can donate whatever suits you and help us do our work as best as possible. We appreciate all the support we can get!