Thailand -- He Plays With Babies
time comes at 11 a.m., and one of the Thai women gives me
a bowl of oatmeal with a little bit of meat in it and points
to this kid and now he's my charge.
I'll call him Hungry
though he doesn't seem like it at first. He doesn't want
to eat at all, but he does a little, then after he gets
about a quarter of the way through he loses interest completely.
I press him, putting the spoon up to his mouth and doing
the humming and cajoling like I've seen parents do in the
movies. My hands are shaking the whole time.
Finally he starts eating,
then suddenly he's inhaling the stuff and I can't believe
all this food is going into this little kid. He keeps giving
me the wai, pressing his hands together like the Thais do
when they say thank you but I'm thinking this can't be possible.
The kid's two years old. How can he know how to do that?
pees on the cop's lap...
ex-cop is feeding Saucer Eyes, and he says she's doing the
Hungry finishes the
oatmeal but not before the other boys come up and dig their
hands in what's left of it and jump off my crossed legs
like a springboard. The floor in this place is really hard,
and the springboarding leads to head-conking and wailing,
The cop looks down
and notices there's a huge wet spot on his jeans where Saucer
Eyes is sitting. She has urinated all over his leg. The
orphanage can't afford diapers, so when a kid has to go
she does it in her clothes.
showers are necessary...
time up next, which means we're almost through, thank God,
but first a shower.
The three Thai women
march the kids into a shower room next door. When they emerge,
they are all clean with no snot running down their faces
and they are all wearing clean clothes and smelling like
Then this two-year-old
takes a big poop on the floor. Another kid walks over and
sticks his hand in it. I have to lead the second kid to
the Thai women and explain in sign language what that stuff
is on his hand. Both kids are led to the shower for another
just want your touch...
Nap time. 11:30 a.m.
Thirteen cots are dragged out, 13 pillows. The kids lie
on the cots, some gurgling, some sniffling, some sleeping.
And there's a boy and a girl crying.
don't recognise them.
They've been here the
whole time obviously, but they've stayed clear of us and
just kind of blended in with the others.
The American cop and
I look down at the two criers, and he says: "I know what
this one needs." He kneels down and puts his hand on the
boy's shoulder and the kid stops crying immediately.
I kneel down and put
my hand on the little girl's back and she stops crying and
shuts her eyes and falls asleep.
can help these kiddies, too...
asked American journalist Will Kern how travellin'
women worldwide can help the Viengping Children's Home.
Many of us will be visiting Thailand at some point -- what
can we pack for these tots and how can we arrange to do
some volunteer work at the orphanage while we're there?
The children's home needs lots of stuff, from food to furniture
to diapers to toys. And it doesn't necessarily have to be
for the babies. There is a
boys home on the property too, as well as a hospice for
children with HIV. Money is always nice too.
main thing that I would ask you to do is to encourage
your readers to visit the place and give some attention
to the little kids that never get any and are starving
for it. If they are heading towards Chiang Mai, or
if they are in Northern Thailand, they should stop
in and say howdy for an hour or two. As I read somewhere
(I think it was Lonely Planet), "the people we meet
are what we remember. The temples and tourist attractions
quickly fade away."
Ed. note: For
further information about The Viengping Children's
Home, click here.
Thailand? We're sure you'll enjoy reading: Thailand
-- Keeping the Experience Female-friendly.