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Changes of Tsunami: A Journey to Thailand (cont.)
by Christine Creel

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There is so much to share that my thoughts will randomly flow out. There is so much to share that my thoughts will randomly flow out.  Please forgive the erratic nature of my [entry] as I try to capture for you what I am experiencing. And the keyboard has funny symbols on the keys so sometimes I am having to trust my typing skills as to how things are spelled. (Don't worry Christine...I spell-checked for you!)

We met with Reid this morning and learned more in-depth of his accounts.  The immediate needs for his efforts are taken care of.  He is now working with others on developing the long term infrastructures to get people back to their lives and working to sustain themselves.  His group is doing interviews within the tent villages to determine specific needs (fishing supplies, boat motor, materials to repair equipment, a motorcart with a cooking set up so one can cook food on the side of the road to sell - it is amazing how many locals do this and this is one of the places we are buying water/fruit from).  We stopped at a road side shack and bought fresh pineapple.  The gentleman not only cut off the rind, but cut off EVERY pit and then put it inside a plastic bag to chop it up into bite size pieces (flies swarmed the entire stand and were resting on everything) - all for 5 baht .  40 bahts = $1.00.  I about cried.  We gave him more than he asked and said we'd be back for more.

Back to breakfast with Reid - since he didn't have any immediate need for physical labor, we decided to seek out another organization.  We left at 5am this morning to head north two hours to the Takuapa District of Phangnga - the hardest hit of Thailand .  They have two meetings a day - 8am and 8pm . They are providing room and board for three meals a day to all volunteers and only asking for donations of 160 baht per day (again 40 baht = $1)  It is in located just outside of Khao Lak in what I consider to be an amazing jungle type of atmosphere.  The accommodations are basically bungalows w/o air conditioning.  I keep being reminded of why I don't live in TX.

They are running a 24 hour operation and need any help they can get.  Today I am doing a variety of things.  I am working with an interpreter to decipher information of the deceased victims and put it into a database that is accessed by survivors looking for their loved ones.  Since there are so many people who speak/read english around to world and so many travelers lost,  it is vital to translate consistent information from the Thai language.  This is a very pressing need and a way for survivors to match the best information in hopes of bringing some closure to their lives.

WE are traveling after lunch into a small, remote tent village that is off the mainstream (if anything can be mainstream here!) with translators to inventory what the immediate needs of the groups is, as well as longer term needs (fishing supplies, tools, any livelihood items) and then return with what we can tomorrow.

Christine and John meeting with Reid and his girlfriend in Chalong Bay, southern east coast of Phuket, Thailand
A locally-owned resort lies in ruins just 30 meters from the beach at Tab Tawan ~ photo by Christine Creel

We are also sorting through massive amounts of clothing.  Much more has been donated than what can be used at this point.  We will sort for appropriate things for now and store things for what needs will be like in 6 months.

There is a memorial service today in Takuapa that the Prime Minister is coming to town for.  It is to express love and good wishes and pray for the families, brothers, sister and friends, foreign as well as locals who fell victim to the recent tsunami disaster.  More than 2,000 monks as well as religious leaders from Islam, Sikh and Christianity will lead prayer for the lost and for the love, peace and unity among the living.  Please keep this in your thoughts today.

Tomorrow I will be going in to one of the tent villages where a large majority of the orphans are living.  There are art therapy project and play therapy projects going on.  One of the relief efforts will be for the painting/drawings to be sold locally (for now though we are talking about eBay, etc as options as well).  I plan on purchasing some.  If anyone is interested in this effort, please let me know immediately.  I will bring home what I can.

Must run for now.... more later.

I'll have to tell you about the two monkeys that chased me today and eventually caught up and one grabbed my shoulder and the other bounced on my head from the tree above!!!!!!!  Thank goodness they are friendly little creatures!


Volunteer Center at Khao Lak Nature Resort. Databases are created in an effort to
record details of victims for future identification. Converting multitudes of information from
Thai to English requires days of patience and cooperation between
different cultural barriers such as language
~ photo by John Moretti

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