By Mike Lake & Peter Barlow
Piang Luang – November 11th - The warm clothes collection in Chiang Mai was remarkably successful. In particular the donations from local people at the Tessabaan and Rim Ping Stores were marvelous.
Two pickup trucks and one SUV were loaded on Friday afternoon [10th Nov] and at 0700 promptly the next day the little convoy drove the 180 kms of challenging mountain driving to Piang Luang, hard up against the Thai / Burma border in the North of Chiang Mai Province.
My daughter Pang drove the lead truck while my friend Mdm. Nat L’houmeau drove the second truck, with CMIRC’s Mike Lake in the third vehicle. Mike’s wife Sunee and friend of Rotary Gaynor Foletti came along for the beautiful drive.
The journey took 4 hours and we met Khun Yulinda from the Sweet Home Orphanage upon our arrival in Piang Luang. She took us to meet Khun Sai Leng, the leader of the nearby Shan refugee camp that has 400 residents. We off-loaded the bags of clothes, opened a selection and let the locals help themselves. There were only children present as the residents all work locally during the day. The children appeared delighted with the choices available. The contents of the bags were remarkable in their variety: there were many new clothes, woolen hats, scarves and gloves, and other very good quality items.
Khun Yulinda had laid on lunch at her orphanage, which was started by her grandmother in 1987. We had a tour of the school. It was very well set up with a classroom, a student workshop, a hot house garden, and clean bathrooms. K. Yulinda received clothes for her 17 children. Later K. Sai Leng allocated about 12 other unopened bags of clothes to two local villages, where he said there was a real need. These were given to the Head Ladies and all was done by 2 p.m., when we began the return journey to Chiang Mai.
Saying “thank you” at the Shan refugee camp near Piang Luang. The camp houses about 400 Shan villagers.