Cabbages, condoms and buffalo fields

We have been in Pattaya for almost 2 weeks now and feel happy – settled in but still enjoying the novelties and newness of living in another country. We are at that stage where if you come across something that surprises you, you pretend it doesn’t anymore. For example when people you eat lunch with either chicken feet and enormous hunks of pigs liver, when a snake turns up at day care (the kids lose interest after about 10 seconds!), when some baby wees on the play mat and mum mops it up using it’s own pants or when you go for a massage with your boyfriend his masseuse spends most of the time slapping his bum telling him to “weelax”!

Our days and evenings have been busy so to stop me rambling for too long here are my top three highlights of the last week:

1. Child Protection Development Centre (CPDC)

IMG_0655.jpg

 

Queue for soup at CPDC.

About 7 years ago Khun Toy (the lady we are working for, director of Human Help Network Foundation Thailand) found a buffalo field on the outskirts of Pattaya and set about turning this into the fantastic home for street kids that it is today. These humble pastures now home to almost 80 children who, for all different reasons, cannot live with their parents – risk of trafficking, drug and alcohol problems, custody battles, abuse and incarceration. Each child has their own sad story but one thing they all have in common is that they all find safety, support and a family at CPDC. Before coming to CPDC a child would not go to school regularly, if at all. At CPDC all of the children are taken and fetched from school everyday and a routine and good education is established. The children sleep in single sex, mixed age rooms which creates a sense of family as opposed to same age sharing which can feel institutionalised. The older children look after the younger ones which in turn gives them a sense of responsibility and purpose.

IMG_0601.jpg

Mushroom house at CPDC.

The first time we visited we were shown around by three cheerful little girls who I later found out were all victims of physical and sexual abuse. They proudly showed us the immaculate kitchen and dining room, library, computer room, basket ball court, fish ponds, vegetable plots, mushroom houses, pig sty, chicken coop and ducks – all paid for by donations. As they rely on funding the aim is to make the centre as self sustaining as possible – the animals are reared and sold at market, the vegetables are prepared for meals and the children tend to the cleaning and cultivating vegetables. To me it all sounds too good to be true but it really works! The food is delicious (those mushrooms make the best tom yum soup), it is clean and above all the children are safe and happy.

IMG_0663.jpg

Singing lesson with a tone deaf teacher!

 

2. Christmas Party

IMG_0697.jpg

 

Green Fanta.

On Tuesday afternoon we attended a party put on by the local rotary club for the kids from one of the day centres we help at. It was a roaring success – the pictures do it more justice I think. There was a beautiful buffet, a magician, a traditional Thai dancer, singing and dancing and Father Christmas made an appearance!

 

James and I had a great time dancing with the children and helping feed the smaller ones. Mon, a little boy I am quite attached to, rushed round for hours and eventually fell asleep on me – possibly a come down from all the green fanta he drank… For these children, who live in corregated metal shacks and are not allowed to go to school, it was a real treat and an afternoon they will remember forever.

IMG_0695.jpg

Juliette and Lam unaware Santa is leaving!

 

3. Cabbages and Condoms

 

Lam has taken us under her wing – she is a wonderful woman who works at the orphanage and was bought up there herself. As well as welcoming us with open arms, showing us around and generally being one of the happiest and uplifting characters I have met she has also introduced us to the best coconut cakes in town, taken us for massage at THE massage school (no risk of a happy ending for James!) and is taking James to see Star Wars tonight.

IMG_0773.jpg
Spicey feast!

A couple of Lam’s friends, Jeanette and Daniel, are visiting at the moment and we have had a couple of great nights out – always ending at the ‘beer garden’ which is some seats in the corner of a car park, one beer tap and a local chap who plays the guitar and sings all the rom-com classics.

IMG_0780.jpg

Last night we had dinner at a restaurant called Cabbages and Condoms – we sat on the sunset deck over a private beach with only the sound of waves lapping the shore. The name stems from a project to raise awareness for contraception and family – a light hearted approach to the problem of a rapidly increasing population. Profits still go towards building schools and family planning projects. The food was divine and thanks to Lam we ordered exciting new dishes recommended by a local. Our tolerance to chillies is going up everyday! I am running out of adjectives to describe how good the food is – each meal seems to top the last.

IMG_0788.jpg
James eats fried cricket and enjoys every crunch.

I hope you are all enjoying the run up to Christmas – back soon with more stories to share with you.

Juliette xoxo

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Sue Ross says:

    It is so interesting to read your blog, Juliette! What a lovely thing you are doing with those beautiful children. Your mum will be very proud of you. Happy Christmas to you and James. Xxxxx

    Like

    1. explawyers says:

      Thank you Sue – glad you are enjoying the blog! Happy Christmas to you and the Ross clan. Love Juliette xx

      Like

  2. Charlotte says:

    Oh my goodness . I read your blog with such pleasure smiling the while. Gosh I remember Cabbages and Condoms .. What a brilliant name eat your heart out mr Soros !
    Iam so happy for you both and can feel the excitement …… In the photos and In your words! Well done James … I’ve eaten a spider … Tasted a bit like Melba toast ! But never a cricket.. Christmas is much the same in grey and rather damp Henley… We miss you.
    You have so… Done the right thing and I know you are enjoying every minute !

    With huge love and great admiration.. happy Christmas and big hugs

    Charliexx

    Like

    1. explawyers says:

      So happy to hear you are enjoying the blog! It’s all thanks to you 🙂 come here soon please! Happy Christmas – love from us both xx

      Like

  3. Russ says:

    Hey JB and Jimbo…great to see you are having a positive / fun / exciting / productive time over there. I am sure Juliette is doing much more work than James!

    Keep up the SPARKLE and the Fairmile Court Gang send their love and hugs…Merry Christmas to you both.

    Russ. xxx

    Like

    1. explawyers says:

      Thanks Russ – really happy you are enjoying reading the blog 🙂 miss you lots – please have a mulled wine or snowball for us – only chang here! Xx

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s