A simple invitation I sent out to different organizations offering my services as a volunteer. To my surprise, Aids Baby Centre (ABC) accepted my invitation. On May 8, I arrived at Chiangmai from Vancouver, BC, Canada. I received a warm welcome from Ricky, Lay Hwa, and ABC Staff. The ABC children, all seven of them received me as well with open arms.
Knowing not a single word of Thai, I wonder how I will communicate with the staff and children. It will be a challenge for all of us without Ricky, Lay Hwa and Jeremy to serve as my interpreter. One thing I learnt pretty fast was “Gin Khaaw” meaning “let’s eat!”
To fully communicate with each other, we went beyond words. Using our own language sometimes is impossible to communicate with each other unless both of us have the intention of understanding. One thing they have is this incredible sense of humor. No matter how absurd we sound to each other, we have the capacity to share laughter.
One afternoon, Yao, Sanden and I were having conversational English. I asked them what ABC provides to the children. Sanden replied room, board and lodging. Yao added food, clothing and medication. And I asked what else? They thought silently and Yao exclaimed, “Love!” And that’s what ABC exactly gives them.
At ABC, I saw joy, courage, compassion, faith, charity, and love. I thought I will be helping them, in turn; it was Ricky, Lay Hwa, the staff and children of ABC who taught me the basic humanity. Nothing as long as I live will be ever more important. It’s a humbling experience.
May God bless them.
Care Corner Thailand News Letter dated June 2, 1998.