2017 – Tanakorn
Middle School 2016-2017 School Year – Term 2
In Thai primary and secondary school, grades are based on a 4 point scale, with 4.0 the highest and 0 the lowest. They align with western “A-B-C-D-F”. The final grade is based on a curve for the class. The school year ended in March and we have the final grades for the year.
Age: 16 Grade: 8
Dear Reardon Family,
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!
Tanakorn is a pre-teen teen – sullen, fragile, helpful, angry, aloof, friendly, whatever. He’s really big and strong – twice the size of the other boys – and bored with them. If he could spend all day riding around on the Warm Heart farm motorbike with sidecar, he might be happy. He is a math whiz who routinely wins the Phrao District math competitions and places 1st or 2nd in the Provincials – but he is close to failing his other courses in school. He should go to university in engineering and found a few cool startups. He is a natural entrepreneur. But in this educational system, he will be limited. He will far exceed his brother and make a good living as long as he goes to vo-tech and learns a trade. I have loved this kid since day one and if I can think of anything for him, I’ll do it.
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. Please visit and share our Children in Need of Sponsors page.
Journey to Warm Heart
Tanakorn’s older brother, Prapan, was one of the intrepid first 8 kids from Lau Wu to come to Warm Heart. Tanakorn arrived the next year.
For Tanakorn, life could only get better. Before coming to Warm Heart, he had not had an easy time. At 4 he survived open heart surgery. Months before he left home for Warm Heart, his father was killed in a motorbike accident.
Despite the difficulties Tanakorn faced during his childhood, he is a strong and positive young man. You’ll often find him helping Michael with his gardening and agricultural projects on the weekends.
Tanakorn’s favorite activities are walking around, hanging out, and working hard with Michael as his helper. He also loves to play soccer and spend time in the computer room.
In school Tanakorn prefers math and computer class. Tanakorn won the Phrao District math competition for his age group, represented Phrao in the all North Thailand competition and came in second!
When he grows up he hopes to work in agriculture – although Michael has other plans for him.