Dear Don and Ellen,
Ah, sponsorship has real benefits! Those precious degrees of separation!
For the past few days, Warm Heart has been paralyzed by an epidemic of the 72-hour bug – fevers, tummy troubles, droopy, weepy, sweaty kids everywhere. It has not been pretty.
It could have been worse. The mosquitos have been awful and we all feared dengue. Four loads of kids – every vehicle we own – made off to the hospital, but the blood tests came back negative. The kids felt no better, but we sighed a huge sigh of relief.
The hospital visit, however, triggered a return visit by everyone who is anybody in the district from the Nai’Ampure – the head honcho himself – to representatives from the hospital, central public health, local public health and the school district. What was wrong at Warm Heart? Luckily, there had been another outbreak elsewhere. It was merely an investigative expedition, not inquisitorial, one that left as puzzled as when it arrived.
We are just happy to see more and more kids mustering for the school buses!
Earn is lovely and anxious about her future. She is a senior in high school and uncertain which career path to take. We recently hired her older sister to work for us weekdays (and attend university for public health in Chiang Mai weekends). We thought that “Soda” would be a great role model for the girls because she graduated high school, completed a two-year nurse’s aide course, recognized that it would take her nowhere and reapplied to university for a 4-year public health program. Earn has ventured out to a couple of the universities in Chiang Mai to check out their programs. Exams start next month and then we will do another round of helping her find her options. There are, of course, too many to describe – but how to show her or the other kids?
I should not make too much of everybody getting sick. It has been a remarkable year for everyone at Warm Heart, truly remarkable.
Nit, our eldest, finished her second year of university in Bangkok and departed for an internship in Turkey. Her travels will take her on to Tiblisi, Georgia and to Belgium. New, our most recent university entrant has just finished a strong first year in languages – Chinese, Korean, French and English. Two of our boys received full scholarships to good vocational-technical schools, bringing to six the number of kids we have training in the trades.
Right now, all eyes are on high school. We have one senior who is contemplating what to study next year at university. What really worries us, however, is that we have seven – seven – 11th graders, every one a potential university student!
Ah, Warm Heart, casualty of its own success.
And if this were all! The kids just keep coming. At the start of this school year, a lovely young woman joined us from our partner school where she finished 6th grade last year. Unlike Naan a year ago, who is the first person in her village to go beyond 6th grade, Lalita is just the first in her family to go beyond 6th grade – but like Naan, she will go far, far beyond. Then Pagu arrived. All by himself. He walked three days, by himself, to Warm Heart. We couldn’t say no. He has serious developmental disabilities and is subject to constant seizures, but no one else will take him and he is settling in, so here we are. Oh, and then last week the son of one of our most important partners in the mountains got tossed from his housing, so he just moved into our annex. Super mother, good kid who will be a good role model for our younger boys. We can handle it.
But all this is business – and I am proud of how well we do our job.
In all of this, however, what makes me happiest and proudest is the extraordinary feeling of family our kids have created at Warm Heart. Our kids do not come from happy places. Our kids do not come from happy homes. But Warm Heart does something special for them. A few days ago a visiting video team member commented on the “synchronized performance” of dinner and the multitude of intense conversations underway, the homework and cellphones being shared between the trays and the laughter.
It’s what I love most. I hope you can visit someday to experience it, too.
And, to you, thank you always for making all of this possible. You give your child and all of our children this wonderful home. Evelind and I love all of Warm Heart and all that we do. But from the very beginning we have made sure to build the Children’s Homes on a safe, separate financial foundation supported by you and other sponsors. No matter what happens to the rest of Warm Heart, no matter what happens to us, the Children’s Homes are secure, thanks to people like you. Thank you.
PS. And precisely because you are already doing so much, I feel I can ask a favor: could you please persuade a friend to sponsor a Warm Heart child? You are absolutely the best possible person to convince someone why sponsorship is important. Would you please try? Sponsorship is a wonderful holiday gift to a caring family member, a gift a family can give itself, a special assertion of faith for a group of friends, young or old, in a congregation at a church, mosque or temple. And a sponsorship is a wonderful living memorial for someone important. Please help us create new futures here in the mountains of North Thailand.
Journey to Warm Heart
Earn came to Warm Heart from a small village west of the mountains.
She arrived at Warm Heart in 2012 and graduated from 9th grade last year.
Earn’s family remains in her hometown near Chiang Dao where her parents farm rice, corn, and cabbage.
When asked to share something about herself, Earn says she is very appreciative to be able to further her education because of Warm Heart.
Her favorite subjects are social studies, math, and English. She regularly attends the after school English lessons taught by Warm Heart volunteers.
In her free time, she loves going on Facebook, drawing, and reading.
When asked what she likes best about living at Warm Heart, Earn says it’s being with her best friends TangGua and Fang. The girls can often be seen giggling while braiding each other’s hair after school.
Earn aspires to become a doctor in a major city.