It has been a busy few weeks in the Wildflower Home, it’s hard to believe just how fast the days go by. The home is such a creative and productive environment to volunteer, as every day is filled with new learning experiences.
Sister Anurak is the go to person, an enthusiastic, warm, kind hearted woman who’s main goal is supporting the woman to have a better future for themselves and their children. Sister is a firm believer in education and income generating projects as a means to achieving that goal. Sister mentioned that she heard if you plant chillies upside down you can produce more and they grow faster, so Sister, Nonglek a staff member, Fae, Arron and myself worked together to prepare the soil and plant half the seeds upright and the other half upside down, only time will tell if sisters experiment works out, but that is Sisters attitude we will try it and learn from it.
Most weeks a volunteer and the women make cakes to sell, so after gardening we helped the women to slice, package and label two large chocolate cakes. Nonglek and myself put them on the truck and headed to the local railway station where the shop allows the women to sell the cake for a percentage of the profits. So the women sold the cakes for 45 baht and the shopkeeper made 5 baht. This was a huge profit for the woman and it made me stop and think of how easy it is for me and people my age to spend that exact amount of money without a second thought to its worth in other countries. We continued to run errands for the home.
The Nonglek was full of questions and we used the time in the truck for English lessons, Nonglek would point at objects we passed and I’d say what it was in English and Nonglek would say what it is in Thai.
We arrived at a local furniture store to collect wood for the fire. It would be very difficult for the women to continue to use the open fire stove which they rely on for cooking, baking and heating as they would have to pay for wood. Our last stop was a local school that donates leftover food to feed the pigs. I’m amazed at the level of local support the home receives and I am very aware of just how much support it needs to continue it’s great work.
Later that week we had a visit from the Thai Royal Air Force which was arranged by the probation department so that members of the air force, who work with woman recovering from substance abuse could learn about the home, it’s goals and supports as they are keen to link in and further develop the Wildflower Home as a supportive environment for women in the final stages of their rehabilitation. We gave them a guided tour, they attended a presentation with Sister Seripon and spent an age admiring and purchasing the women’s handcrafts. This could well be another new chapter in the Wildflowers book where more women with new challenges and issues could also receive the life skills and support they need to empower themselves to a healthy future whilst also breaking the cycle of substance abuse.
After such a hectic week Sister organised an outing for the women and children to the hot springs. They were so excited. The hot springs were beautiful. Set in natural landscaped gardens surrounded by rice fields, mountains and tall trees providing much needed shade to the many visitors. We dipped our feet in the hot springs, explored the gardens with the children and actually cooked boiled eggs in the hot springs for our picnic lunch. As most of the women are young woman I noticed the trip was the first time I saw them acting like young woman do, taking selfies, bursting with excitement and giggling as they mingled with the crowd. It was great to see them have fun. Afterwards Sister brought us to a little village called Bo Sang where we all watched the local artisans make traditional Thai umbrellas. Their work was colourful and intricate in detail and design.
As we all made our journey back to the wildflower home the busy week finally caught up with most of us children included and we were all snapped sleeping soundly as the truck brought us home, a great end to an amazing week.