June 25 ' July 8, 2005
This year's Volunteer Corp was led by Kritsada 'Tiam' & Julie Jangphiphatnawakit of HWW Bangkok and Jim & Debbie Mackie, Program Directors for HWW in Jacksonville, FL. We had an outstanding group of 10 American volunteers from Jacksonville, Virginia Beach, VA, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Madison, WI. We were joined by 4 Australians and as many as 8 Thai volunteers from Bangkok during our time.
Our efforts were focused on the Tsunami affected Khaolak region, Baan Narm Khem Village and Phuket, Thailand. During our time we taught English to 86 students at the Baan Narm Khem school for 4 mornings, took 31 students to the Khao Lumpee Waterfall for an afternoon field trip, and 28 students to the Phuket Zoo. Some of the students were among the orphans sponsored by HWW from this region in Thailand. Following completion of the teaching we were able to make a contribution of school supplies and books to the school. We later presented them with a picture scrapbook of the students and their activities through the week. The hearts of the children was grateful and happy and they were reluctant to see our volunteers leave.
We also spent 5 afternoons rebuilding and constructing homes in a village in the Bang Sak district, Khaolak region. We were involved with digging and pouring footers for foundations, laying block walls, rendering mortar on the walls, carrying buckets of cement, as well as other projects. This was done in 100-degree heat by our spirited group of volunteers working with other students volunteering from England, Norway, Holland, and the US. It was very inspiring to see the hearts of our volunteers and the others here. We were also encouraged by the generosity and gratitude of the people of this village.
During our stay we were also able to visit the 10 families from the village of Baan Narm Khem who received boats and motors from HWW. Through an additional contribution of $600.00 from HWW Jacksonville, we were able to provide nets and other fishing supplies that were needed so they can get back to work. They were so grateful for this and got to work immediately with their net construction. The impact was visible on their faces. We also brought clothes to distribute to this village and this was most heartwarming. We also made a visit to the man and company who built the boats which were donated by HWW to the fishermen. The cost of one boat is approximately $900 US dollars.
A meeting was held with the Province leader by Tiam and Jim to discuss the acquisition of land for a HOPE worldwide Center to be constructed for refuge and educational purposes. This was a positive meeting and they requested a formal proposal and this would be followed up in the near future.
HWW has made a positive impact on this devastated region in the 6 months following the Tsunami disaster. There is a great need for sustained programs as well as much 'sweat equity' for the villages to be rebuilt.
In April, HWW Bangkok sponsored 'Tsunami for Singles,' a retreat and workday to benefit the school where a playground was built by the HWW volunteers from throughout Asia and the US.
Program Director / Jacksonville