Santa’s Delivery to MuserNai
The bouncy toys were a big hit with the
By Joe Evans
In 2011, with funding from my friend in NYC Don Duggan, Toys for
Thailand, a US based charity, in partnership with Maejo University’s
Dept. of Renewable Energy installed the first solar system in the remote
Lahu village of MuserNai in the forest preserve in Om Koi, about 70 Km
south of Chiang Mai. MuserNai is cut off from the rest of the world
during the rainy season and many of the people there do not speak Thai,
only Lahu. My friends Maria and Sasha asked me if I wanted to make a
Santa delivery to MuserNai and I eagerly accepted the job thinking it
would be a fun adventure and an opportunity to help very underprivileged
From rom left to right Anouk De Graaff,
Patricia Van Weenan, Joe Evans, Shasha Bilar and Maria S. Miller ready
for the big trek.
We left Chiang Mai at 9 a.m. with my truck packed with blankets,
clothes, toys and food and started our drive to MuserNai. By the time we
arrived at the ranger station outside Om Koi it was raining pretty hard
and we had passed by three accidents. Despite the rain, Sasha Bilar,
Maria Miller, Anouk Ge Graaf and Patricia Van Weenan and I decided to
test out my new 4-wheel drive pickup to head towards the village. The
local teacher, Kru Lare, accompanied us to show us the way. She asked me
several times if I wanted to attempt the drive. Because we all really
wanted to see the children we thought, how bad could it be with a four
wheel drive and new tires, so we continued.
The last thing I heard as we passed the ranger station was “choke dee”,
and that should have been a sign that I should have heeded. As we
started down the red clay road my driving skills were sorely tested,
slipping and sliding along the side of the mountain roads we got about
half way there but with the weight of all of the blankets clothing food
and toys we brought and the five of us I found a hill that I was no
match for. I was forced to stop driving and wait for back up from the
Lare’s nephew who came along in a few minutes with a truck to rescue us.
At about 5 p.m. we finally arrived at MuserNai and the whole community
slowly came out to meet us at the school room, the only place in the
village with lights. The little ones had never seen anyone like us
before. The bouncy animal toys were a big hit with the 2-4 year olds but
the blankets were the main attraction in this windy and cold mountain
village. Whenever we ask Tribal children what they want it is never an
iPod or an iPhone it is invariably blankets and food.
After spending about 90 minutes with the villagers and children of
MuserNai and taking many photos we distributed blankets, handed out toys
and offered food. Kru Lare said we should return to the truck, put
chains on it and drive back to Chiang Mai. It was a long and exhausting
day but I will never forget this place that is off the grid from the
modern world. MuserNai is a primitive village with a high illiteracy
rate and where girls marry and start to have children in their teenage
years. There is no medical care, children hunt bats for protein and most
villages earn less than $200 per year picking vegetables and rice. Kru
Lare is only the second teacher to work in this village, a place that
was her birthplace and where her father is the local Shaman. The good
news is MuserNai now has electrical power with solar and has
communications with the outside world. Since the installation of solar
power, Kru Lare told us the teenage pregnancy rate has dropped
substantially. When we arrived back to Chiang Mai it was 3 a.m. and we
were sore from the rugged drive but filled with joy from the wonderful
experience of making a Santa delivery to one of the poorest places on
Toys for Thailand partners with the teachers and administrators to give
the material resources to make sure that the children get a fighting
chance at living a full and rewarding life. Turning schools into protein
factories where the children grow their own vegetables, raise pigs
chickens and ducks, bio-tanks to provide fuel for the school kitchens
and whatever is necessary to fight poverty and isolation.
Children’s Day preparations in place at Kad Suan Kaew
Fun in chaotic times!
Kad Suan Kaew Shopping Center will host
Children’s Day One Day Camp featuring papier mache crafts and play
The Chanel Kids Club in Kad Suan Kaew announced that Children’s
Day festivities are already being put in place with a one day camp that
will offer a full day of fun learning activities under the theme “Fun in
Chaotic Times”. The project, held in cooperation with Kad Suan Kaew wil
offer children a chance to model for the Kad Suan Kaew Children’s Day
Children’s Day is held on Saturday, January 12, 2014 and is a day for
children to have fun, learn and play. The one day camp will give kids
the supplies and help to create papier mache crafts, draw their dreams
and play act. The project is being held to help kids promote their
creativity and fun in learning.
Disease free nurseries is the city’s goal
Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn (center)
presided over the seminar on disease free nurseries and pre-schools in the
Chiang Mai Mail reporter
At an academic conference held at the Park Hotel Chiang Mai on
December 11, 2013 the Chiang Mai Municipality worked with related agencies
and public health officials to discuss means to prevent disease and
illnesses among pre-school and nurseries run by the city government.
The conference, presided over by Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn, is part of the
Municipality’s strategy to deliver medical supplies and prevent diseases
among nurseries and kindergartens. Chonlisa Jariyalertsak, representing the
Office of Disease Prevention and Control 10 Chiang Mai said that the Office,
the Chiang Mai Provincial Health Office, the Chiang Mai Provincial
Administration Organization and the Chiang Mai Municipality have been
working to make child care centers and preschools under local government
organizations to be livable and disease-free since 2011 and to realize the
impact of diseases that affect the overall development of the child. The
conference was held to increase knowledge and understanding about diseases
commonly affecting children and to increase effectiveness of surveillance of
diseases, prevention and treatment. Child care center policies and criteria
for establishment of schools were discussed as well an exchange of ideas on
making schools livable and to prevent and control diseases there.
Chiang Mai students receive Royal scholarships for orphans of disasters
Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo with the 55
recipients of Rajaprajanugroh Foundation scholarships.
Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Fifty-five Chiang Mai students will receive scholarships for high
school and undergraduate education thanks to the Rajaprajanugroh Foundation.
Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo presided over the ceremony with the students
who received their grants on December 13, 2013.
The Foundation, under the Royal Patronage of JM the King, offers education
scholarships to students who have lost their parents due to natural
disasters. Undergraduate students will receive 30,000 baht each to attend
university while high school and vocational students receive 15,000 baht
each. The Foundation already transferred the money to all students.
The Rajaprajanugroh Foundation under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the
King was founded with the objective to provide relief assistance to victims
of disasters that occurred across the country, to prevent disaster that will
occur throughout the country and to provide relief assistance to the people
who have been suffering from any other affliction that the Board of
Directors deems appropriate. The Foundation also provides relief for
education, renovate, repair and improve Rajaprajanugroh Schools and provide
scholarships to students who study well at Rajaprajanugroh Schools, orphans
or victims of disaster.
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