Today was a really good experience, though perhaps a little strange. We arrived at Baan Feung Fah around 10am and were guided to an outdoor stage area where we were to hold a ‘concert’ for the children. In reality, this meant playing some songs, doing some actions and dancing about with the kids. About 100 children were brought out to see us and Ruth, Matt, Sarah and Tim did a simply amazing job, performing song after song after song. In an hour we covered everything from ‘Jesus’ love is very wonderful’ to ‘if I were a butterfly’ and everything in between.
And the rest of us – Louise, Jim and I (as well as the others when they weren’t playing) danced and we danced hard. Jumping about with the kids, singing, clapping and swinging them around – great fun. Most of the children were very excited to take part and seemed to have boundless energy in the heat. We ended up Dripping. With. Sweat. Ick.
BFF is a government orphanage housing disabled children from birth until 7 years old, so it was strange to see so many seemingly ‘normal’ children in an orphanage for disabled children. While some have obvious physical disabilities (and obviously there are many disabilities that aren’t visually apparent), many of them didn’t seem to be disabled in the way we might define the term. Tan, CCD’s volunteer coordinator, explained that it’s difficult to come to England and talk about attitudes towards disability in Thailand, when then British understanding is so different. It’s not unusual for a child to end up in BFF or the homes for older disabled children simply because they have a cleft lip or a port wine birthmark. Unfortunately, once they’re in these institutions their development often becomes seriously delayed and their problems become more pronounced as they grow older, making it more difficult for them to live a ‘normal’ life. All I can say is thank God for the work of CCD.
CCD also run a daycare centre at BFF, where some of the residents go for physic, fun and to get fed and showered. We were there for lunchtime and helped some of the children who aren’t able to eat independently – noodles on the menu, followed by ice-cream – yum!
Them it was nap time and time for us to grab a bite too – we had a great lunch at a restaurant in the nearby Centre for Deaf People (Thailand seems a bit random like that – I love it!). When we got back we washed our CCD t-shirts ready to do it all again tomorrow at Rajawadee Girls – a home for older disabled girls and women from the age of 8 onwards.
We had put the washing out to dry on the roof and just sat down to dinner only for the heavens to open in an epic downpour. Drat. Let’s hope things dry overnight…