Giving a Little Bit Back

Village kids

I put away my lemon slice novelty pen and picked up the Royal Blue Parker ball point, it was time to write a serious post. Me and serious posts have a tendency to fall out after a mere paragraph or two.

The School of Thailand is Thailand itself, an open university of life. When you choose to walk, drive or fly away from the Land of Smiles your person should be far better than the one that entered. In my ten years of travels to Thailand I have become a better, more caring and understanding person and I’m grateful to the country and its charismatic people for giving me that. Last month I had the chance to give just a little bit back….. How am I doing so far…..You’re doing well Hoo Don, keep concentrating and leave the lemon slice alone.

First lets head back to England where my story starts. Adam Gorman is a work colleague of mine in my hometown of Swindon. Sometime last year we were discussing Thailand and I mentioned that I was planning to visit a second hand book store in our town centre to buy some children’s story books to give to Wonderful Wi’s village school. Adam has a son and daughter and he kindly donated some books to me that his children had outgrown, a kind gesture and I promised to hand them over on my next trip to the Land of Smiles. That trip was in December and when I decided to visit the school it was shut due to an extended New Year break and so last month I finally got the chance to give Adam’s kind donation to the headmaster of Ban Norn Chad’s village school….. Can I mention Brer Rabbit, he was a big favourite of mine when I was a kid…..Hoo Don, No. I’ve read a few of your rabbit posts and they ain’t exactly serious. Concentrate HD, concentrate.

Ban Norn Chad Village SchoolThe school in Wilai’s village in Udon Thani Province is for the younger kids from the age of five up to twelve. All of Thailand’s state run schools appear to look the same and be of a similar condition, tidy and in need of a lick of paint, the village school was no different.

Adam donated 29 children’s books and Wilai and myself added a couple of volleyballs for the more sporty and less academically minded amongst the 100 or so kids at the school.

The presentation was no elaborate affair with a simple handing over of the gifts which were in plain plastic bags, what was inside the books was far more important than the manner in which they were held.

The headmaster, two teachers and Wilai’s aunt who is the school cook gratefully received the donation and it was smiles all round as they lined up for a couple of photos…..Just a little mention of Brer Rabbit, just for the kids…. Keep on the straight and narrow Hoo Don. I know you, it’ll start okay and work its way into something distasteful. Keep going you’re nearly there.

School teachers and cook

Adam's giftThe idea or hope which might be a better choice of word is that the books will give the kids hours of entertainment, education and just maybe change one or two of their lives.

If there was a future doctor, lawyer or country vet somewhere in the stifling hot classrooms high above me then just maybe the books might help along their career path.

My guess was that at best a future bank clerk or Thai Airways check in employee was going to get hours of fun reading about Cinderella, Winnie The Pooh and Snow White.

Most of these kids would be heading for the farms and rice fields in one of Thailand’s poorest regions and maybe one day when the afternoon’s searing heat was burning into their backs the adventures of these story book characters would come flooding back and help them make it through the day. I was just giving a little bit back…..Hoo Don are you making a gin and tonic or is that your lemon slice novelty pen you’re holding…..Sod it, I’ve got to do it. He’s my favourite rabbit.

Brer RabbitWhen I was a kid I loved reading Brer Rabbit stories, he was my favourite childhood character and embarrassingly I sometimes think of him even now. Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox would give me the kind of fun that I suppose computer games give many of the kids today.

Brer Rabbit used his wits to overcome many a tricky situation, great memories for me and I hope the books that Adam kindly donated help the kids in some way to further their education and fill their minds with great memories to cherish in the years ahead.

Thanks Adam for helping me give a little bit back to a wonderful place on earth that has educated me in life…… Hoo Don you blew it right at the end didn’t you. I’m going to squeeze all the ink out of your lemon slice….I couldn’t help it, he’s the top rabbit…..HD your blog rankings are going to slip after this one…..I just had to do it.


Photograph     Brer Rabbit Wikipedia


I'm a sixty-year-old Englishman living in the town of Swindon in rural Wiltshire and I have a real deep desire to retire in Thailand one day. If you don't have a dream then you won't have a dream come true.

16 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    HD sit down, take a couple of paracetamol and leave the bl**dy lemon alone you’re distracting me from reading about this nice gesture from you and Adam.

    More serious posts in the future? Its OK I’m only joking I want an update on the soi dog millionaires!

    Mike’s last blog post..Thai Marriage: Tong Mun and Sin Sod

  2. Hoo Don says:

    Mike I’m still toying with the idea of giving the Soi Dog Millionaires a miss. It was you who correctly pointed out that many random viewers would probably not understand its worth. Still thinking on that one and thanks for dropping by.

  3. Adullamite says:

    Great post!
    The Parker pen works wonders!!!:)

    Adullamite’s last blog post..Painting

  4. That’s a great gesture HD, the good thing about doing one’s bit in a direct, practical way like that, is not just that it’s supporting the kids’ schooling; it’s helping with a different kind of education. They discover that the farangs are not all distant, rich exploiters of Thailand and its people, but that some genuinely do care. Hopefully this will stick with them when they increasingly come into contact with the negative stereotypes as they grow older. That’s a priceless lesson for children to learn before entering an adult world filled with some much conflict and intolerance.

    (Oh and excuse me for using your blog in this way, but apologies to everyone for the lack of comments until about Wednesday next week, if I don’t sort myself out soon for departure in a couple of days I’ll have zero chance of doing everything I need to do in time…)

    Pete, frogblogger’s last blog post..Thaivisa: Founder of Thailand’s largest online community answers the critics

  5. Talen says:

    Martyn, Good on you and Adam. I would say there is some very good Karma coming your way.

    Talen’s last blog post..My Thai Girl and I Part 2

  6. malcolm says:

    Martyn, great post , giving back is what it’s all about , I try when I can, to help where we can. When Ciejay and me gave a lot of books to the local school , I went to the libary and made a small display of the English books on a small table and encouraged the students to take one and read. It amazes me that they are taught english from the first grade till they graduate yet, they like most folks in Thailand are scared to death of the english ,no one in the village speaks it , no one at home speaks it , and they (most will remain in the local village all their life ) see no need to practice it and learn how to speak, but I’m sure they will love all the great pictures in the books, and like you I hope if they escape the small village that some of the stories and pictures and words will pop into their minds to inspire done good . Malcolm

    malcolm’s last blog post..RIVER TRAVELS AND SIGHTSEEING

  7. malcolm says:

    Martyn, I want you to know that not a day goes by that I don’t sing Zippy Do DA ZippyDay my oh my what a wonderful Day. my whole life I have loved the characters from the Song of The South and Brer Rabbit was always my favorite , thanks for sharing , I know every line by heart, you know ,that they cannot have the book in any school or libary and you cannot buy it on dvd or film in America it is against the law. just like the book Little Black Sambo, I ordered the book from England and also a copy of the film and had to beg my daughter in law to let me show it to my grand kids, my boys all know the book by heart too as I told them the stories as stories of life. when they were growing up, we always had a secert , When they were growing up , when they would have a big decision to make about something , and they would ask their Mother , She would say to them “what would Jesus do ” and then they would come to me and sometimes if not a earth shattering problem I would laugh and say “what would Brer Rabbit do ” they would laugh and then the problem would get smaller , , I have a story that I dedicated a whole chapter to in my memoirs , about Brer Rabitt and Brer Fox and how one sunny day my life was impacted forever by one of Uncle Remus’s stories , when we get together in November , I’ll share it with you . Malcolm

    malcolm’s last blog post..RIVER TRAVELS AND SIGHTSEEING

  8. Hoo Don says:

    Adullamite – Thanks and I’m happy that my Penelope gave you an enjoyable read.

    Pete – I know a lot of fellow bloggers and also tourists have done much to aid the kids of Thailand and so it was nice to give a little bit back. Wilai and myself always put on a Christmas night party at our house and plenty of the village kids turn up and we try and make sure everyone gets a small present. Last Christmas about 50 of them came to the house, much more than we expected and Wilai is now having second thoughts about putting on this years bash. Have a good trip on the 23rd.

    Talen – I could do with some good karma at the moment. I have been following you and Pookie’s story and have to say that looking at the photo’s you may have used up all your karma in one hit, she is one beautiful looking lady. Best wishes to the both of you and the young one as well.

    Malcolm thanks for two wonderful comments. I could have guessed that you’ve given books to your local school because that big heart of yours wouldn’t do anything else. I’m glad that you brought your kids up on the Brer Rabbit ethics because he was one smart cunning rabbit. I will look forward to hearing your tale in September.

  9. Catherine says:

    Martyn, fabulous! And your photo is so clear, so very beautiful.

    ‘In my ten years of travels to Thailand I have become a better, more caring and understanding person and I’m grateful to the country and its charismatic people for giving me that.’

    I hope I have too. I really love what you are doing in Thailand, and what better country to give back to?

    ‘All of Thailand’s state run schools appear to look the same and be of a similar condition, tidy and in need of a lick of paint, the village school was no different.’

    I recently read about a teacher’s experience with teaching at a Thai school. On arrival, the teacher was excited to see all the new course books available for the students. Stacks and stacks new books. But the reality was different. When the government officials left after approving the school, the books were packed up and sent back to where they came. Sad.

    I also believe in giving back. I don’t donate money to charities (all those fancy high-rise buildings just burn my butt) but I do give back in other ways. I build websites and donate my creative time.

    One site is for a charity to support village schools (not finished yet as there is a bit more coding to do).

    The other is for the guy who does my hair. I know, I know… but when the Yellow Shirts shut down the airport, he lost the majority of his clients for the month of December (his biggest month) and he is still struggling.

    Giving back comes full circle. I honestly believe that. It also makes your heart grow and I can tell that you have a BIG heart 🙂
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Webster’s Thai to English Crossword Puzzles =-.

  10. Hoo Don says:

    Catherine the photo at the top is from Wilai’s camera and was taken during Songkran. It is actually cropped from a larger photo but holds up pretty well.
    That’s quite amazing what the government did with the school books but somehow doesn’t surprise me.
    When you complete the school charity site could you email me the site address and I’ll have a look. Enjoy your weekend.

  11. Catherine says:

    That photo is impressive. What type of camera does she have?

    I’ll email the site url to you now as it is mostly finished…
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Webster’s Thai to English Crossword Puzzles =-.

  12. Hoo Don says:

    Catherine – The camera is a Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG9 Pink Digital Camcorder which I bought for Wilai last Christmas. It takes some good shots but I haven’t used many on my stories yet but have a few to use on future posts. It took the shots of the tiger and flower pot garden in my Nong Nooch post. It cost about £190 and is pretty good value for that price.

  13. Catherine says:

    That’s quite impressive. And yes, £190 is indeed good value for money…

    (which, btw, is a favourte British saying of mine 🙂
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Webster’s Thai to English Crossword Puzzles =-.

  14. Catherine says:

    I just noticed your smart urls. Yeah! Congrats 🙂
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Webster’s Thai to English Crossword Puzzles =-.

  15. Hoo Don says:

    Thanks for the tip Catherine, I only read your email a couple of days back and have now changed them. I’m a novice at this game so if you have any more tweaks then I’d be delighted to hear them.

  16. Catherine says:

    Hi Martyn, I’ve emailed some code for giving your images space. This is so your copy is not butted up against your photos.

    Note – I’m no expert but there are a few things I add to each of my blogs.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Habits of Highly Effective Expats =-.

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