Well, despite relatively fast and widely available internet access, Thailand has not yet provided me much time to blog. We’ve been here for what? three days already? and have been busy from just after sunup to way-past-sundown.
On our second day, Tutu invited some of the kids from Doi Saket 1 and 2 orphan homes to swim with us at our hotel pool. Everyone had a great time, forgetting language barriers for about four hours until the kids had to go back home and the white guys had to rest.
Yesterday we drove about an hour and a half north of Doi Saket to our property at Wiang Pa Pow. We own (or will own once we pay off the mortgage) about 20 acres in the foothills of the mountains. It’s a beautiful plot of land that we’ve already started to develop.
We’ve refurbished the farmhouse, and will be accepting kids into a new home, Wiang Pa Pow 1 (Sponsored by Wooster Grace Brethren Church), in about two weeks. We’ve also planted 6,700 mulberry trees, which will provide the food and lodging for about 100,000 silkworms. We’ve also started a silversmithing project that will provide hilltribe widows and orphans profitable vocational skills. Andy Taylor has been helping Tutu and I develop sketches for the property’s master plan.
There are many things to do – but the first is to actually pay for the property. We have a contract and we’ve been paying interest on the mortgage, but we need to raise about $100,000 to own it free and clear. In Thailand, loans and contracts can be pretty exotic financial vehicles; we’re hesitant to develop the property much further without the deed in our hands.
This morning we’ll be visiting some other silk farms to see how it’s done. I’m thankful for the Queen of Thailand – she has funded a project that is designed to train hilltribe people in silk production and the creation of other traditional handicrafts. The Queen’s people are helping us already, but will be even more involved once our mulberry trees mature and we’re ready to start making silk in earnest.
We’ll also do some other research related to vocational training and microenterprise projects, and then it’s off to see the kids. We’ll be visiting Doi Saket 1, 2, 3 and 4 and perhaps making the drive to see our kids at Hot Springs.
I’ll post more pictures later, including ones of the pig we killed (well, our guest Chris Ramos from Back2Back ministries was the one with the spear in his hand) and butchered at the farm. Bloody, but fascinating.