A Monks Blessing

Father Ray Outreach Work & Drop-In Center

The brand new Half Way House officially opened in January of this year. Two young men were very excited to be the first two residents of the house, and for a few months everything was going well. They enjoyed living in the house, were learning to become independent and were relying less on the support staff from the nearby Drop-In Center. A third young man joined the household and they were all happily living together, until recently. Thais are very superstitious, and many believe in spirits, or ‘Pii’ as they are called here in Thailand. One of the boys complained that he had heard noises and felt someone was in the house when he was alone. A staff member then mentioned that she too felt that there was a ‘Pii’ in the house and she would no longer enter the building. One young man was so scared about being in the house alone that he would wait until his housemates returned home from work late at night before entering the house.
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A Day of Firsts

Redemptorist Vocational School for People with Disabilities

It was a morning of two firsts for the young men studying on the Electronic Repair course at the Vocational School for People with Disabilities. The first year students have only been at the school for four weeks, and having to start at the very beginning they were recently given their first try at using a soldering gun. Not as easy as it looks, and one or two students were seen rubbing their fingers after burning them, but they will soon learn to become a master of their own tools. They also received the results of their first ever English tests, and the whole class was disappointed with their results, until their teacher informed them that the grade they received was out of a total of 50 and not 100 as they thought.

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New Lessons

Father Ray Day Care Center

The youngsters from the Father Ray Day Care Center have started their first swimming class. Whereas last years students were too scared to get into the water, this group of students were full of confidence and could not wait to get changed and jump in. But it is not a playing in the water, learn to swim they must and the first lesson was to learn how to use the legs to move through the water. All good fun.

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Farmer Daeng

Father Ray Foundation

Whilst countries in the European Union worry about the most recent health scare, this time E-Coli affecting fresh fruit and vegetables, here at the Father Ray Foundation there is no panic. Up at the Father Ray Children’s Village a piece of land has been given over to Farmer Daeng. After spending most of his life on the land this man is an expert in producing food for our children. Before starting work each morning Farmer Daeng makes an offering of food to the spirit house, and lighting incense sticks he prays for a good harvest. It is a belief here in Thailand that spirits occupy the land, and a small house is built to house the spirits, alms are offered each morning and Thai people ask for protection from the spirits. In a few short months the farm has grown and is now producing a selection of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices that are used in most Thai dishes. As soon as a crop is harvested the van from Central Purchasing arrives to transport the food to the various projects, ensuring the children are eating the freshest food possible. The spirits are certainly looking after Farmer Daeng and our children.

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My Pet Chicken

Father Ray Children’s Home

Whilst most people have cats and dogs as pets, up at the Father Ray Children’s Home several of the younger boys have chickens as their pets. The boys visit the chickens each day, and even though many think all the birds look alike our boys know which is their pet. Unfortunately the chickens do not know that they are pets, and that they belong to the boys. As soon as the boys arrive the chickens run, and being fast runners it makes it difficult for the boys to catch them.

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A Painful Day

Father Ray Children’s Home

A trip to the large private hospital was going to be a great day out, or so the young boys from the Father Ray Children’s Home thought. As the passed through the doors the children were greeted by the receptionist who accompanied them upstairs to the very plush waiting room. One by one they were called and off they went, following the nurse who measured their weight and height. This was followed by having their temperature taken before the blood pressure cuff was placed on their arm. Most laughed when the cuff inflated and squeezed their arms, many thinking that it was never going to stop. Then it was to the medical room where a sample of blood was to be taken. As the girls sat calmly and showed no signs of distress when the needle was inserted into their arm, the boys pulled all sorts of faces. One young boy showed so many pained looks that the other children all laughed, and when he tried to remain calm the faces he pulled were even funnier. After several hours all the samples, examinations and tests were complete and the children sat down for lunch; as soon as the lunch boxes were opened all the pain was forgotten.

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From Pattaya to Peru in four hours

Father Ray Foundation

The local Regents School is a great supporter of the work of the Father Ray Foundation. Each year the students organise many different fund raising activities and recently they decided to do a sponsored event which would see the students covering the distance from Pattaya to Peru. The reason why Peru was chosen is that the Regents School has good relations with a similar international school in Lima. The total distance from Pattaya to the school in Peru is 19,225 and the children would walk, run, march, ride their bike, swim, use a scooter, roller skate or skateboard until their combined distance equaled the 19,225, and they would have four hours to complete. More than two hundred students and teachers took part and they were joined by students from the School for the Blind and the Vocational School for People with Disabilities. As the blind students were led around the course, the wheelchair bound students raced alongside the bike riders. Several students and staff from the Regents School also tried their hand at completing a lap of the course in a wheelchair, but for many they could not finish. However one young student who is wheelchair bound completed twenty five laps, a total of 10 Kms. As it was a sponsored event all the money raised will split into three and presented to purchase sports equipment at the Pattaya School for the Blind, Vocational School for People with Disabilities and the planned sports court at the Father Ray Children’s Village.
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A lot of fun

Disabilities development

To the young children attending the Center for Children with Special Needs it was a simple game of basketball. In reality it was an exercise in which the children are learning many things. First the children were asked to select a specific coloured ball, then walk up a steep ramp and place the ball in the basket. Up and down the ramp without holding the railings they are learning balance, and placing the ball in the basket they are using their motor stills. Each child receives lots of encouragement from the staff and accompanying family members and although it is an exercise in learning, the children see it as a lot of fun.
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Lost Socks!

Father Children’s Home

It is six thirty in the morning and the first day of a new school year. The children have all eaten breakfast and the girls all look very smart in their crisp white blouses and neatly pleated skirts. Their socks are whiter than white and their shoes are shining. They are all looking forward to meeting old friends and seeing what the new school year has to offer. The boys on the other hand take life at a more leisurely pace. Slowly they emerge from the dining room, some still getting dressed and their teachers are all encouraging them to hurry as the school buses are waiting to leave. But on the first day of the new term they may all be late arriving at school as one young boy can not find his socks. He tells everyone that he has looked everywhere, ‘how can you lose a brand new pair of socks’ his teacher asks, ‘we only gave them to you yesterday’. With a smile on his face and the jeers of his friends ringing in his ears he goes off to look once look, but soon returns barefooted. He is then handed another pair of socks, which in his haste to put on he almost tears a hole in them. At last he is ready and everyone climbs on board the buses. It is six forty-five when the bus actually leaves, but they will still make it on time.
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