On the 24 December 2007 at a place called Sunshine Village in Phuket, I found myself surrounded by parentless and abandoned children. Some were left to fend for themselves because the tsunami had taken their parent’s lives. Others were just left because of unknown reasons. No matter the reason, these children were orphans who needed to be looked after and taken care of.
That Christmas eve for a brief moment in time, feelings of abandonment were replaced with laughter, giggles, hugs, playful songs and appreciative smiles. What a privilege to be part of making a difference in each of those children’s lives.
From the moment we arrived each child instinctively attached themselves to a crew member. They came in twos and threes and started playing in the park, jumping in and out of the sand pit, taking photographs, sitting on the grass and playing board games. Anything their little hearts desired they acted out with us. Hugs and kisses were flying around. Happiness was in the hemisphere of Sunshine Village.
Something that really struck me was how well mannered these children were. For example: at lunch time each child took their place around the table and did not touch their plates until the last person was served their food! They prayed together and then feasted together. It was unbelievable!
Language was no barrier. We didn’t need to speak the same language to spend quality time and to demonstrate acts of service to these children. I think each crew member who spent Christmas eve at the Sunshine Village would have loved to adopt a child in distress.