Welcome to this week’s FEMAIL - mostly taken up by a report of a
very happy occasion for Wildflower Home and anyone who cares about
the plight of young victims of abuse and their children! Fitness,
Health and Weight Loss has been moved to another page in the paper
to allow us to publish Elizabeth’s lovely account of the day of the
move itself. On another tack, an interesting move by the Thai
government occurred this week, in that there are proposals to outlaw
alcohol at all Buddhist festivals, and also at the January New Year
celebrations. Given the bad news about fatalities and injuries
during Songkran, this does seem to be an idea, but how to enforce it
when all drinkers have to do is stock up at home, knock a few back,
get on the bike and visit friends with similar ideas, knock a few
more back, get on the bike and visit friends…etc. Result - the same,
with the exception of a fair few miserable tourists and in-town bar
owners. America couldn’t solve the problem with prohibition, the UK
can’t solve it these days whatever they try, what chance is there
here? Please forgive us for going on about this, promise we won’t
mention it again until Loi Kratong! We’ll just sit back and watch
the progress of the Olympic torch instead…Have a good week!
Wildflower’s “At Home”
- their own home at last!
Residents, their children, and all the friends,
volunteers and supporters who had helped make the dream come true.
On a beautiful evening last week, part of a dream came true for everyone,
friends and residents alike, who enjoyed Wildflower’s “At Home” in their
very own new compound. The first permanent building, housing 12 women and
their children, was complete, and the new temporary buildings were almost
finished. Everyone who had helped, worked and prayed for Wildflower was
there, all of us with huge smiles on our faces. Also there was the Home’s
newest resident, a lovely 6 day old baby girl, who slept in her mother’s
arms throughout the entire proceedings. Speeches were given, music was
played, a delicious meal was served, friendships were made and renewed, and
the joy of Elizabeth and Michael, the women and their children and the
volunteers and friends who had given so much was wonderful to see. Below, in
her own words, Elizabeth tells of the day of the move itself. All of us wish
everyone at Wildflower Home the best of everything - they deserve it!
“March 29 was a big day for us, as it marked the final move of Wildflower
Home into our own facility. One pickup truckload at a time, our belongings
moved from our rented land to the land just adjacent to it, which we are
buying and developing as our permanent home.
children having fun with friends in their new playground.
Each of our 12 women with their children came to Wildflower Home with one
small bag of belongings, so transferring their possessions was no challenge.
The office, classroom and nursery items were more of a test of patience,
especially since these women don’t operate as Westerners, who tend to pack
everything neatly, label boxes and load everything safely. Instead, books
went out one armload at a time and were thrown into the truck with the
furniture! As I have often had to do in the past, I surrendered my own need
to be in control to allow them to do it their own way.
By 5:45 pm that day, almost everything had been moved, and we stopped to
rest and have dinner. There was a certain peace in the air as we relaxed.
Happy sounds could be heard as the women settled into their new rooms with
one another and the children had found a sand pile, a construction remnant,
to play in. Birds were chirping, and a slight breeze was blowing through the
surrounding rice fields. The sun was sinking lower as evening fell,
brilliant red at this time of the year because of the dust in the air that
is normal for the Chiang Mai area in the dry season. The women scrambled to
find beds, (a generous donation from the British Community of Thailand
Friends of the Needy), because not all of them had been delivered on time by
the furniture store. Nevertheless, there was a general feeling that all was
well. The women had put a lot of their own labor into our new land and into
making the move possible. It was only right that they should feel a sense of
accomplishment and pride that this day had finally come and they could take
ownership and see the fruits of their labor.
The next week we cancelled all classes to be able to settle in, sort through
everything that had been moved, and get adjusted to our new surroundings.
Still, there is so much to be done. A fence around the fish pond and the
property itself needs to go up for safety reasons. Top soil and mushroom
straw for the garden was dumped in truck loads and still needs to be spread.
The women will help with these things as part of their work duties beyond
cooking, cleaning, gardening and caring for each other’s babies.
Many buildings still need to be constructed, as and when we get funding,
including an education and day care building, volunteer housing, and a
permanent office, kitchen and dining area. Except for the women’s rooms, at
this time all of our buildings are temporary, made from bamboo and
relatively inexpensive local materials. They work for us at this time, but
they won’t last forever.
Recently Wildflower Home was on Thai national television for the third time
in the past five months. We have had three different stations come and
interview us. This recent showing was a full thirty minutes about us and was
very nicely done. As we become a Thai foundation (hopefully within the next
two or three months) it is good to have the publicity.
This month we have had one woman give birth. She is from a region in
Southern Thailand and gave her child the nickname “nong nua” or “little
north child”. Currently we have four other expectant mothers. One woman has
recently left to seek employment in Bangkok after receiving vocational
training in cooking and experience at a local restaurant. Another mother
will leave at the end of the month, after having taken courses that will
help her find employment in a hair salon, should she so choose. She was also
our main gardener at Wildflower Home for several months and has a real love
for the land. We are happy that we have been able to make a significant
difference in these two women’s lives.
Please know what a significant difference your support makes in the lives of
the women and children we serve. Our wish list for this month includes a
tiller for our garden, a gazebo for small classes, a filing and office
cabinet, playground equipment and mature trees. We also will need
construction materials. If you are willing to donate funds toward any of
these items, please let us know. We are grateful for all you do to support
us in our work, and are intensely aware that we cannot do it without the
generosity of so many of our family and friends.”
Elizabeth and Michael
We are what
One of the real joys of living here is the constantly available and
always affordable fresh fruit. Pineapples, for example - we know they’re
delicious and we know they’re good for us - but do we know HOW good? Read
Pineapples are rich in two substances which boost healing and the immune
system -the enzyme Bromelain and the anti-oxidant vitamin C - and are also
rich in fibre. Bromelain, a complex enzyme with natural anti-inflammatory
and analgesic properties, is widely used in Europe to treat musculoskeletal
injuries, arthritis, cramps, and post-surgical and post traumatic swellings.
It works by blocking the creation of pro-inflammatory compounds like
prostaglandins, decreasing the production of kinins, inhibiting fibrin
production, and encouraging healing. It can also relieve indigestion and
promote good digestion - finishing an over-enthusiastically ordered
restaurant meal with pineapple for dessert might avoid an uncomfortable
night! Although it is generally well tolerated, it can aggravate ulcers or
oesophagitis, and can interact with blood thinners.
We’re all familiar with Vitamin C, and with its role as an anti-oxidant
which protects against free-radical damage and boosts the immune system. But
did we all realise that it also helps repair tissues and promote healing, as
well as helping metabolise fats and cholesterol, absorbing iron, and
synthesising amino acids and collagen, or that it plays a major part in
protecting against gum disease and in promoting oral health? Recent studies
indicate that vitamin C can reduce your risk of gingivitis and periodontal
disease. Besides increasing the ability of connective tissue to repair
itself, vitamin C also increases the body’s ability to fight invading
bacteria and other toxins that contribute to gum disease. Periodontal
disease, which destroys gum tissue and underlying jaw bones, has been linked
to heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
So if you are searching for a natural way to enhance your body’s healing
mechanisms, promote overall good health and tantalise your taste buds,
pineapples are the way to go. In Thailand, we are privileged to have an
abundance of fresh pineapple varieties. Remember that the fresh fruit has
the highest healing properties. When choosing a fresh pineapple, do not
judge ripeness solely based on its color but let your nose make the
selection to determine its ripeness. Ripe pineapples have that sweet, fresh
tropical smell. You can eat pineapple fresh, add it to salads and entrees
for its great flavor, or use it as an ingredient of cooked meals such as
main dishes of meat or seafood fried with pineapple.
To get you started, try this delicious, nutritious, cholesterol-free recipe
as a popular smoothie or powerful morning juice. Take 1 banana, 1 cup of
fresh pineapple, 1 cup of watermelon, 1/2 cup of soymilk and 1/2 cup of
orange juice. Give it all a good swirl in the blender and there you go! No
need to add sugar or honey or salt to enhance its flavor because Thai fruits
are sweet enough to please your palate.
And remember that without the ice, you can really taste it that much better!
What a wonderful and healthy way to start your day!