I am back in Thailand again. I have been here for about a month and have spent time in Bangkok, on the coast, and at one children's home along the border, but I have finally ventured back up to my old home and village area also along the Thai-Burmese border. I wasn't sure what to think or expect as last time I left feeling disappointed and defeated. I had been working at a children's home there and had fallen in love with the kids, but after some issues there with management I knew I had to walk away. I felt like I was abandoning my children. I resolved to continue helping the Karen there and decided to teach English classes in a nearby village after being invited to work there. Again, after several months of not having the support necessary to build a good program there and having a visiting, alcoholic son return to stay in my host family home which ended up being very disruptive, I decided to leave again. I was very disappointed as I had really put my heart into trying to make a go of working with the Karen along the border. I was saddened and felt burned out after little more than spending a year there. At the same time, I had many lovely, happy memories and experiences there, but didn't know if I wanted to return as I felt like a failure. I may have failed in my endeaver to work at the children's home and in starting an English program there, but...
What I didn't realize was that I had succeeded in creating meaningful and encouraging relationships with people there, and had gained valuable life experiences. I lived with one of the world's poorest and oppressed people, and even if I couldn't offer them riches or unlimited resources or opportunities, I offered them a loving friendship. By going to live and work with them I gave them hope in the world and let them know that they are not alone nor forgotten in their troubles. I may have failed in one sense but succeeded in another.
So, as I found myself dropped off from the bus on the side of the road there along the border surrounded by jungle and fields, I was unexpectedly happy to be back and glad that I could still offer my friendship to some of the most beautiful, kind people I am blessed to know. I had my backpack and a handbag, a pair of flipflops on, and a happy heart as I walked down the road towards my old village and I felt like I was coming home again. I may never spend a lot of time here again in the future, but this place has been imprinted upon my heart and soul, and I will never be nor live the same again.
When one has gotten to live, to work, and to be with the world's poor and are truly open to learning, one will gain a quality, a sense of something that cannot be put into words nor easily conveyed. It just is what it is. So I encourage everyone no matter where you are at in life to take some time to unexpectedly spend with someone different from you, and find some kindness and love to share and you will infinitely gain more than you could ever give.