A sense of place while out of place

The IHF Centre in Thailand is in Chiang Rai, despite the calm and peacefulness of the location – here at the center, there is never a dull moment. I have now been at the center for more than a month and every day I continue to see improvements around the center. The impact that it has had on the kids warms my heart.

Since my arrival, I have noticed an increased involvement with the children. Although we are not a large center, the atmosphere is so very lovely. There is a total of 6 children here, all with very different talents and aspirations. Anutida, the oldest, is incredibly smart. She has a strong interest in helping others, particularly regarding health issues. With that being said, Anutida is very concerned with the cleanliness of the center. Not only is her her assistance around the center is so greatly appreciated, but her ability to influence and educate the other children is something truly special.

As you can see, the center has made education a fundamental priority, using the strengths of one another to educate each other. For instance, Prayta is known as the leader at the center. Prayta is constantly acting as a father figure to all of the children, assuring that the children have everything that they need. He not only thrives in this position, but the other kids really seem to enjoy it.

I have come to learn quickly that the center is all about community and closeness. That is something that has made my experience so enjoyable – it is like having a little piece of home while being away. I have experienced the sadness of the absence of someone from your close knit community, but with that, I have also found the strength to continue on. The kids taught me a lot about grieving and in return I taught them a lot about cherishing each moment for what it is. Last month, a fundamental individual who makes our little community whole had to exit the center to go into surgery. This was a sad day for everyone, as a community we allowed ourselves to grieve for a few days, but with the optimism and spirits of one another, we were able to reminisce the good and move forth. The children began on with their daily activities and nightly rituals. The nights, which are always most interesting for us, were enjoyed again. We would eat dinner together and share about our days, the good, the bad, and even the ugly. The warmth of the laughs and smiles always make the chilly nights more bearable for all of us. I think that if there is anything I have learned from the children it is the importance of community, here at the Chiang Rai center we thrive with the continuous support from one another.
thailand-blog-2.jpg       Thus, I remind you that despite the quietness of Chiang Rai, there is never a dull moment here in the center.  Through the laughs, the smiles and the tears come moments of joy. Every day is filled with encouragement, inspiration, and optimism for their future, their passions and everything in between that sets their souls on fire. They say smiling is the universal language, and I couldn’t agree more. It doesn’t matter, our language, our color, our background, even our age a smile is something beyond that. It is these constant smiles that make the center such a warm and welcoming place to those anticipating to come. To me, this is why Chiang Rai center holds a special significance.

By: Fika Triandini

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