Raderstorf World Wide Adventure

Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year 2005

Happy New Year from Bangkok! Somehow I feel a pull in my chest wondering if that is the right thing to say when so very many people are suffering from incredible loss and some still not knowing the whereabouts of family members. We went to the hospital yesterday to visit our friend Roger who is doing great. Scott and I accompanied his wife Carrie in bringing chocolate bars (universal comfort in all cultures) to the other Tsunami survivors on the floor while our kids met with the hospital pscyhologist for a check in. It was comforting for us to meet other people who had survived and to hear their story. We met a man who is still missing his wife and perhaps most poignant, we met a mother and 12 year old son who were just reunited the day before. They have yet to locate the woman's husband and daughter. She felt lucky to be alive and with her son. Enormous joy and sorrow really do live in the same house.

Last night Scotty went out with our gracious host Larry to experience a little joy at the Irish Pub owned by his friend. Too many shots of Bailey's but good fun to be out and about. The kids are laughing hysterically as I type watching Mr. Bean. They've played ping pong, darts, and pool (it's a bigger table and is called Snookers in Thailand). There's plenty of room to run around at Larry's house and besides being tired from staying up until midnight they are doing well. By the way the psychologist said they are all great kids and in incredible shape. Apparently they saw only a fraction of what other children have seen. Whew, a relief on two fronts, no apparent scars from the Tsunami OR our parenting.

For the next few days our WWA will turn to more functional tasks. Replacing passports, getting plane tickets replaced, and acquiring some belongings. We own only five pairs of underwear amongst us all at the moment and our luggage consists of a variety of brightly colored plastic bags.

Thanks again to all of you for your prayers and outpouring of love. Feeling the love and support truly makes a difference. No need to worry about us as we are well taken care of, but if you have some extra resources please consider giving them to the relief effort. There are many places to give, but thought we'd give you a couple of suggestions connected to our experience:

Save the Children www.savethechildren.org is working in most of the communities affected and is a long-time, well-respected NGO. In addition, our friend Roger works for Save the Children in Nepal and we think the world of him. You can make your contribution on behalf of Roger Hodgson if you like because he was in large part responsible for our survival.

There is also a relief fund for the people of Bak Jok village (near the Golden Buddha) which was completely destroyed. Find out more at www.goldenbuddhabeach.com. On Christmas night, about 30 really precious girls (ages 5 to 15?) came from all of the villages on the island to perform Thai dance for the GBB. Hold them in your prayers too if you have room.

I would be remiss if I did not offer up this suggestion. Please consider sending a letter to your senators, US rep, and to the President, sharing any part of your personal experience with this disaster and ask that the US be generous in our giving and humble in our words. From where I stand, the US is not needed to lead the effort of relief and reconstruction. Quite frankly, we were embarrassed by our President's words on CNN when he used the same language to address this disaster as he has terrorism without acknowledging the amazing work of regional governments or the UN. The leadership of the Thai government has been incredible and it would be a great time for the US to acknowledge this and to show a bit of humility. As a side point, Scott had to fill out a five page document to loan $100 from our government while the Thai government gave us anything we needed in terms of food, transport and accommodation with no questions asked, no repayment required. This is a great time for us Americans to be open to learning from the rest of the world. Please take no offense to these words, I'm proud as I can be of my fellow Americans, unfortunately I cannot extend this feeling to my government.

Last but not least, with the outpouring of love we have not been able to respond to everyone individually, but know that you are all in our hearts and minds.

Sending you buckets of love!!!!
Joellen and the guys

22 Comments:

  • At January 5, 2005 at 12:57 PM, Blogger Bro said…

    Dear Scott, Family, and Roger and Family,
    Cheryl and I are most grateful to hear the news Roger is doing well. We are continuing to pray for complete healing. Please convey our prayers to Roger and Carrie. (See message earlier - Carrie is Cheryl's brother-in-law's sister, so they are family to us as well).

    We are deeply saddened by the sorrow and losses of those upon your island and are in prayer for the things you have asked. God bless you all even more as you struggle to be good neighbors.
    Bro in California

     
  • At January 5, 2005 at 8:06 PM, Blogger MileHighDivaCyn said…

    God bless you and keep you safe. I have donated to Doctors without Borders and Samaritan's Purse. I cannot imagine the devastation, and I lived in hurricane country for years. I pray that the orphans are given a chance at a good life and that everyone is able to rebuild and be able to start over.

     
  • At January 5, 2005 at 10:02 PM, Blogger Nic said…

    I am happy that you and your loved ones are in good health.
    I feel so sorry for the victims and even I've contributing with money and still feel useless.
    The description of the event was so vivid specially because I stayed at GBB last year.
    I visited the villages and I keep the smile of the children in my mind.
    I leave you a link to the pictures I took last year:
    http://viajeans.blogspot.com/2004/12/thailand-land-of-smiles.html

    and I would like to ask you if you know anything about the survivors of these villages, where they are now relocated and how can we help them in a more direct way?
    Thank you for your input and please do stay well.

     
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