As a parent you want to empower your kids to make change, to be kind and considerate, grateful and generous. Doing the Rice Drop in Sangkhlaburi was the greatest gift we as parents felt we could give to our child for their 18th birthday present. In the age of material possessions and empty exchanges we knew that their coming of age should show them how powerful they can be. The experiences and sights we saw that day will stay with us for a lifetime, particularly the friendship we gained with locals who met us at the marketplace and allowed us into their home.
With the introduction to Madavee, director of Kidlaunch, we were able to travel to a remote community of Burmese refugees, and hand out hope. I thought how could that experience have such a small price? The feeling driving into the jungle through washed out tracks and dense greenery was completely surreal. When we arrived in the village, a steady stream of people started to filter out of rudimentary wooden huts onto the dirt road. Men and women, smiles wide and welcoming, with their children stood barefoot with us under a tree and our (beaming) child started to hand out provisions.
The villagers, all in turn bowed and took their supplies and stood back to watch others take theirs. I wandered around, completely in awe of what was happening, listening to the excited hum of a dialect I regretted not understanding. Children, clinging to their mothers skirts, came up slowly to collect their share while I fought the urge to cuddle them.
Later that night, back at the homestay, the power went out in Sangkhlaburi as a storm rolled in. I listened to the rain, in complete darkness, with no fans, covered in a film of sweat and thought about what we’d experienced that day. That they were still out there, and what we experienced briefly in a power outage was their daily life. And now, as I write this, I know I’ll go back to Sangkhlaburi and do it all again. If you are reading this, do it. It is the best experience you’ll ever have, and maybe for some lucky people, the greatest gift you can ever give.