Our first update from Lisa. Thailand. 3.27.
So here I am in Northern Thailand, within walking distance of the Burmese border. It is lovely - hot and incredibly humid.
It is funny. I got so caught up in the amazing experience of flying across the Pacific completely flat out in a bed of all things. I have only lain completely flat on a plane once before - it is a wildly different sensation. Even in the most calm moment, one feels the motion distinctly. And then there is the sensation of being one of the privileged few. Really, how odd to share space on a plane with only six other passengers. It is not at all social. We each had our own pod, room really. I only saw brief glimpses of two others and that was it - not a word spoken for the entire 16 hours except to my own attendant. And yes, I have to admit to loving it, quite a bit actually… But that was several days ago..
44 hours of straight travel. 40 by air and sitting in airports, and then a 4-hour bus ride, me in the back tucked in with the bags. I share a room and a bath, and meals are communal. There is no more wi-fi, no cell service, no soft towels of the first class lounge - no…
The young Thai women involved in the project are some of the most lovely in spirit I have ever met. Culturally they are deeply respectful and affectionate. I am held tightly in thanks for each small thing I do - and they skip up to me and laughingly grab my hand to hold. These are not children. They are in their early to mid twenties. If I try to cross a street, invariably one of them will put an arm in front of me, protecting me from any harm that may come my way. I am actually stunned by the sweetness of it all.
I can’t speak much of the mission yet - I am still confused. We were meant to be working on housing to the south of us. Instead, when the military decided against the build, the team headed north to a remote village in the golden triangle of Thailand, Burma and Myanmar. Here we are working on a school. We have painted three classrooms in and out. I am working with a team of kids from an international school in Malaysia who have volunteered to do service work while on spring break. Each one has an artist inside - they may not know it yet, but by the time I am done with them I hope to bring them back to the innocence of a childhood when each of us believed emphatically in our own artistic ability.
And the rumbling bus is starting up—my ride back into the hills…