Our very own Tommy is preparing to head to Thailand in January, 2016. This won’t be his first time and it’s not for a holiday. In February this year; Tommy spent two weeks donating his time and energy to a worthy cause, Hands. Hands is a charity, devoted to serving deprived communities, providing protection to those at risk of abuse, exploitation, persecution and fleeing oppression. Tommy learned about the cause through a friend, packed up his bags and set off on an adventure.
During his trip, Tommy and a group of friends and volunteers visited Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces in Northern Thailand. They helped out at a local hostel that provides protection for children at risk. One of the tasks his team was given was to help rebuild and strengthen part of the river bank. The river bank had collapsed due to natural erosion, meaning the hand grown crops used to sustain the community and used to sell and trade, were at risk of flooding. A flood would devastate the crops, causing hardship for the community, so this was a job that needed to be completed before the river began to rise. Other jobs involved making a pig hut, providing vital shelter for the livestock.
When the children returned from school, Tommy and the rest of the team provided them with entertainment and activities, taking the time to connecting and communicate and get to know each other a bit better. Being a Black Belt (1st Dan), Tommy took this opportunity to teach the children some karate skills, something he and the children really enjoyed. He was also delighted when one of the boys drew cartoons of all the volunteers, Tommy loved his!
It wasn’t all work and no play. During the evenings the volunteers were able to sample some of the local foods and take in the sights. Some of the memorable trips involved visiting Thurd Thai, a Buddhist Temple climbing up the mountains of northern Thailand and enjoying a Khantoke dinner while being entertained with a tribal hill dance.
Tommy is now contributing his time by helping Hands by helping to organise events and he’ll soon be redesigning their current website in his free time. He’s also looking forward to jumping back on the plane after Christmas and getting hands on, hoping to make a difference.