15 October 2005:
Khun Chang Khian, Thailand
Srinehru Hmong School Gets
New Facilities from FERC!
If you had
a high-powered telescope and knew exactly where to look, you could see
the Srinehru Hmong School peeking through the jungle on Doi Pui.
Standing on the mountain, you feel like youíre a few hundred years in
the past looking down on Chiangmai in the present.
As the crow flies,
Srinehru School is about eight kilometres from the centre of Chiangmai.
By roads, perfect to non-existent, itís considerably further. You take
the scenic, beautifully paved road to Wat Doi Sutep for 20 miles, then
several more past the Phu Ping Palace. Soon the road narrows to one
asphalt lane snaking through the jungle. At the junction to the town of
Doi Pui, you take a right towards the national park and the road
degenerates quickly. The right fork at the first park building takes you
down a dirt road to the main park that will test your courage, driving
skills and your vehicle. From the park to the village of Khun Chang
Khian where Srinehru is located, youíd better have a 4-wheel drive, an
off-road motorcycle, a bicycle and massive legs, or a Honda Dream with a
native Thai chauffeur and several tranquilizers. Youíll wonder whether
youíre on a road or river bed. During the rainy season, it can
officially be called a stream. The good news: Itís an absolutely
stunning trip (especially in January when the Japanese cherry trees are
in bloom) with a welcome stop at the coffee hut at a 30-year coffee
plantation just before the town where you can reassemble your skeletal
Stories of kids injured in
the toilets and being portaged to the hospital in Chiangmai during the
rainy season compelled FERC (Foundation for the Education of Rural
Children) to help the school. About 175 children attend Srinehru. Though
theyíve had donations of solar power facilities and a fancy computer
room from other organizations, itís difficult to concentrate on learning
when your legs are crossed because you donít want to tackle the toilet.
The entire septic system was disintegrating, the water system was
marginal and the canteen had to serve lunch in several shifts. The
sinister odours confirmed the need for assistance. The money for the
project was raised in February 2005 at our 6th Annual FERC
Gala Give and Live Benefit at Baan Wongmalee, but Mother Nature
prevented construction completion until September.
Several folks from FERC,
the Rotary Club and the Thai Worldwide Foundation ventured up one dry
Saturday in October to see the completed project and were greeted by
most of the school children playing on the school field, dressed
in their multi-colored, traditional
Hmong clothing. All
of the facilities are built soundly and are now being used routinely.
After a couple of growing seasons to cover the excavation and
construction remnants, the
buildings will complement the sweet, serene atmosphere of the school. We
were treated to a few songs with clapping, wai-ing and thanks from all
The septic system, new toilets and
canteen addition cost about 400,000 baht with a substantial portion of
the expenses incurred by the transportation of materials up the
mountain. The delivery of the water tank was halted by water from the
sky and the stream road. The Rotary Club and the Dutch nonprofit Samsara
Foundation added another 30,000 baht for the water purification system.
Annelie Hendriks from Samsara supervised the construction of the entire
While the rest of the folks rattled
their bones back in their trucks, I chose to stroll the five kilometres
to my motorcycle left near the park entrance. It was a bright sunny day,
perfect for a stroll through the mountains. At the coffee hut, I met a
couple of travelers from Belgium, and after a bit of conversation about
why I was walking through the jungle with a riding jacket, gloves and
helmet, the Muslim woman gave me 500 baht for another of our donation
recipients, Childrenís Garden orphanage near Doi Saket, as her
humanitarian service during the Islamic month of Ramadan. That money
will take care of all lodging, food, education and medical expenses for
the 30 kids at Childrenís Garden for a day. Then I met another man on
the road, Ron Bator from Canada and Chiangmai, who is looking for
projects to help with a newly-formed Betterment for Life nonprofit
organization. I think Iíll make it a point to walk through the jungle
TO DAY updates:
FERC Give and Live Benefits USA Concert Tour
Raises One Million Baht for Thailand's Children
26 August - 6 October, 2005: All across America
FERC's 6th Annual Benefit Gala!
19 February 2005, Chiangmai, Thailand
There's more to give than money.
28 November 2004: Children's Garden, Doi Saket,
FERC's First Give and Live Benefit
September - October 2004: Chiangmai,
Two years ago I wasn't sure
I'd live two more minutes.
27 July 2004: Sansai, Thailand
Day to Day has become month to month.
21 March 2004: Chiangmai, Thailand
& R and R & R for the R:
rest, relaxation, roots and rubber for the
20 December 2003: Chiangmai and Pai,
Later DAY TO
Give-Live-Ride Thailand Charity
Motorcycle Ride 2007!
January 2007, All Over Northern Thailand
220,000 baht, fireworks, badminton and love!
16 November 2005, Children's Garden, Doi Saket, Thailand
Srinehru students in
traditional Hmong dress sing thanks for their new facilities.
meeting in the new Srinehru canteen! (Back row: Marc Dumur and Frank
Wieks from FERC. Second row: Cosima Schaub, violinist from Germany;
Monica Weber, Luxami Utaipol and Celeste Tolibas-Hollander from FERC;
Annelie Hendriks from Samsara; Pongtada Suriya from Thai Worldview
Foundation. Seated: Annelieís sister Ingrid; Sirirat Chareonwong from
the Rotary Club; and Varunee Suriya with Worldview.)
Canteen extension allows
students to eat together as well
as adding more room for assembly and meetings.
The water purification
tank was waylaid by the water during the rainy season.
A walk in the woods...
another donation to my spirit
and to Children's Garden!