HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Kids' Corner

Prem Expands Library Collection

Thailand’s gold medal soccer team to visit Muang Noi primary school

CDSC celebrates Christmas

Impressions of the School for Life

Kids' Corner

Marvin was very excited last week because we celebrated Christmas. He enjoyed opening his presents and having a big party with all of our friends. Marvin was surprised because some of his friends didn’t get any Christmas presents so I explained to him that not everybody celebrates Christmas. Christians celebrate Christmas because they remember when Jesus was born. He is the Savior of the world and on this day we remember his birthday.

Do you celebrate any special times with your family and friends? Write to Marvin and tell him about it. You can send your letters to:

Marg and Marvin
Chiangmai Mail
156-158 Im-boon Housing Estate
Muangsamut Road
T. Changmoi, A. Muang,
Chiang Mai 50300
Email: [email protected]
Fax: 053 234 145


1) Which word has 3 ‘e’s and only one letter?
2) Why did the boy go to night school?
3) Why do golfers always carry extra socks?
4) What did the low tide say to the high tide?


1) Envelope
2) So that he could learn to read in the dark
3) In case they get a hole in one
4) Long time no sea

Bye from Marg and Marvin

Prem Expands Library Collection

Alan Telfer Donation of 10,000 Books Arrives

Katherine Voll

Last Monday, the first shipment of an expected 10,000 new books and other resources donated by the late Alan Telfer arrived at the doorstep of the Prem library. This donation, which the library staff has been busily unpacking and sorting, is just the first step of a larger plan to expand Prem’s library. “It is an exciting development for the library,” said Marg Beasley, director of Library and Information Services at Prem. “It’s a major boost in resources and it really broadens the range of services that we can offer.”

Marg and some kid-friends show off the Aran Telfer library.

Alan Telfer, also known by his Thai name Aran Telfer, was a successful English businessman who came to Thailand in 1949 and who started the Alan Telfer Fund, an organization which has made major donations to several charities here in Chiang Mai, mostly in the field of healthcare. Mr. Telfer was a member of the Board of Governors of the Prem Center and generously donated 12 million baht along with his private book collection in order to expand Prem’s library, which was named the Alan Telfer Library. Mr. Telfer passed away last May.

It’s like Christmas! Prem library staff unpacks the donated books.

This latest shipment of books, according to Marg Beasley, is mostly suitable for older students and includes everything from Shakespeare to contemporary books on Phuket. Mr. Telfer, it seems, had quite extensive and varied literary interests. The plan is to move these volumes, along with the rest of the senior school collection, to the second floor of the library, which is currently under construction. A music listening center, art exhibition space and a new computer lab have also been planned for this second floor space.

Marg Beasley in front of her ‘home away from home’.

“The intention is to make the library, which is already a visually pleasing place to visit, an even better resource center. We want to be able to provide a rich and varied educational collection, not just to students, but to parents, visiting schools and teachers as well,” Marg added. Because Prem’s campus is residential, the library has served as a meeting place and common workspace for all of the students and teachers who live on campus. Of course, if all goes as planned, the Alan Telfer library will soon become a hub, not just for the Prem campus, but for an even larger community of readers connected to the school.

Thailand’s gold medal soccer team to visit Muang Noi primary school

Rotarians in Amsterdam donate furniture for a canteen

Annelie Hendriks

All 12 Rotary Clubs’ International Services in Amsterdam donated specially designed furniture for a canteen in the primary school for Lahu and Thai children at Muang Noi/Huai Naam Rin 60 km north of Chiang Mai. The grant was through the Dutch Samsara Foundation.

This very poor primary school has 176 pupils. The Dutch Gerald Foundation built the canteen two months ago. This new donation includes tables and benches, cupboards for the kitchen and kitchen utilities and cleaning equipment.

The cafeteria will also be used as a community room for meetings with parents and of course for special events.

One of those special events will be the forthcoming children’s day, when Thailand’s gold medal soccer team will visit the school the children will have the chance to meet the famous soccer players.

CDSC celebrates Christmas

Celebrating Christmas and opening our doors

Marion Vogt
Photos: Michael Vogt

The Christian German School Chiang Mai (CDSC) celebrated their last day before the winter holidays with a get-together of teachers, parents, students, and friends. For weeks, the whole school had practiced hymns and some original compositions.

The children were guided not to get caught up in the commercial Christmas together with receiving gifts, but rather to think about the Christmas message, the spirit of giving and God’s gift to the world.

The motto was to ‘Open the door’, and the children had prepared verses, songs, little games and even a pantomime from grade seven to ten students, portraying somebody being stuck in a room and being not able to see the light and needing to get out of the box.

It was a light hearted morning, with a beautiful speech by Ajarn Somsri and Fred Hartmann, perfectly translated by Rev. Wolfgang Winkler from the Marburg Mission, and a mix of singing, playing, listening and maybe even re-thinking the meaning of Christmas. The children of the CDSC definitely did get the significance and will remember the message they learnt during these last weeks.

The morning ended with a Christmas market, homemade cookies, candles, and little presents on sale, with the money donated to buy blankets for less fortunate hill tribe children. Principal Fred Hartmann sent everybody off for their winter holidays wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, peace on earth, good will to all, and a healthy return to school in January 2004.

Can’t we rather have some cookies and play?

Ajarn Somsri, the Thai principle of the CDSC, had her speech perfectly translated by Rev. Wolfgang Winkler from the Marburg Mission.

‘A King without a crown is born’, the last sketch before the door was opened.

Songs, choir, band, music, candles and a festive mood.

The school choir is trained by Marlies Hartmann (right), as a little one who could not stand still anymore dances to the music.

Grade 1 dancing and singing the word ‘Joy’ and they had joy doing it.

The grade seven to ten pantomime with someone stuck in a room, not being able to see the light.

Part of the school choir.

Impressions of the School for Life

Joy’s House really brings joy

Rita Haberkorn, Lecturer at the Technical College for Social Pedagogy, Wiesbaden, Germany

“Sawasdee kha, my name is Noy, nice to meet you.” This is typical of the way I was greeted by each child at our first encounter. Not just a “Hello” in passing by, but devoting attention to each person.

They are taught in two languages, easily but consistently.

The children are all very friendly, from a distance at first, and this is pleasant because it is not over demanding for each side. Fourteen days, when we came to say goodbye many of the children wanted to express more. Bowing has its place, but embraces and sentences of very special friendship are added.

In everyday life on the farm, I met children in small groups who were singing and happy. The girls practice Thai dancing. And ‘Mother’ Joy and her oldest daughter practice together with the girls. You can see pride in their glowing faces when they put on their special costumes and start to move slowly to the music. They are living their culture which they now belong to, and they identify themselves with it.

‘Teacherboy’, as he is called.

The time after school gives the children full scope to create things. I never saw any children who were bored or who asked, “What shall I do now?” The farm offers enough space to run around, possibilities to play in natural surroundings. But the children also help out with any necessary work on the farm. Together with their teacher they plant a vegetable patch. The withered leaves on the wide lawn are collected, the ground is swept, and before the new guests arrive, flowers are quickly picked as a welcome gesture.

Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So... The kids are taught northern folk songs which is always a highlight.

Joy not only takes care of these children, she has accepted them like her own, for whom she is there without any conditions. She sees it as one of her duties, to help the children live in the here and now, to help them to master their past, to accompany them on their way and to impart a perspective for them. At the same time she offers her life and her large family as a model from which the children can get their bearings.

Joy knows the background of the children and knows what they have to cope with; she also knows what has made these children strong. Because Joe, Nai and Long survived in the jungle, they are appropriate guides for guests on their trekking tours and call their attention to animals, which would normally not be noticed.

Group photos are a favourite.

The fact that some children wet their beds at night or have other problems is taken with understanding, but is not dramatized. Can you imagine this group of now 22 children with their individual experiences, living in a ‘normal’ apartment house - I am sure a range of therapeutic support would be needed, in order to manage the living together. On the farm this is different. Here you have nature influencing your well-being.

Traditional Thai music on an old string instrument is played on special occasions.

Here it is also Joy who wants to give the children orientation and offers herself as a mother. It is Joy who understands that some children need to be by her side. Joy is friendly, but determined.

At the end I asked myself, how could the children live on the farm, if it were not for the excitement if the arrival of new guests. I don’t believe that the children and the guests disturb each other, but rather both parties complement each other in their every day life. The guests as well as the children can go their own ways, plan their days individually and sometimes do things together - for me this was a very pleasurable experience.

Food and eating is very important.

This little one just arrived on Joy’s farm, and soon he will find his place in the group.

Helping on the farm are daily tasks for everybody.

Whose painting is the best?