Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hike to the Falls

The day before yesterday, we picked up the scholarship kids from the school and piled into the back of a few pick-up trucks. We drove up the river and began our hike to the falls. Everyone was in sneakers, but Nate and Rachel, who live here, were in flip-flops, so we were fairly confident. Plus, all the kids were in flip-flops. How hard could the hike be with these tiny little kids with us?

We start the hike, and I'm holding Oii's hand and another girl. (I noted earlier that Oii was "maybe four." She's barely larger than my three-year old neice, so I assumed. Taiwee said today that she is seven!) We start hiking, and it starts getting fairly steep and bumpy. Mind you, in the States, you'd start seeing signs about rocks being slippery when wet, please use caution, you must be wearing proper footwear like your mother taught you and you darn well know better Heather, etc. But not here!

After a while we were all out of breath and I was worried my long strides dragging the girls along. But every once in a while, they'd rush along like I wasn't going fast enough. Our palms are completely sweaty and their hands are slipping in and out of each other's grasp. When I tripped, the girls instinctively squeezed my hands! Oii, the size of a four-year old, was teetering on the cliff to our right, sliding in and out of her little flip-flops and not making a peep. (She's SO shy.) "Okay? Okay?" I kept asking. She'd give a little smile and nod. I just knew I was going to lose my grip and drop her down the side of the cliff, but she didn't seem a bit concerned.

Arriving at the falls, all the kids immediately jumped in, and we weren't far behind them. We splashed and played at the foot of these beautiful waterfall, and it was magical. The little boys showed no splashing mercy whatsover while the little girls shivered in their soaked clothes against our equally goosebumped legs! The hike back in wet flip flops was a challenge.

Yesterday we spent the day at Volunteers for CHild Development Foundation, a home for Thai children who have been abused or rescued from the streets. I helped cook lunch, de-shelled field crabs, and took part in mixing the spicy salad in a giant mortar and pestle. The kids were so kind. We went to a local lake that you couldn't pay me money to jump into, but the 40 or so kids stripped to their bear bottoms and leapt in without fear. More on that day later.

Today we are taking a bus to Chiang Mai to visit another VCDF, this one a drop-in center for street kids. We'll see the red light district at night to learn how they spend their evenings.

Tomorrow is the group's last day together. I can't believe it!


Mrs. Wenzel said...

Remember the time Melissa climbed to the glacier on Mt. Ranier in jellies?

Marilyn said...

Who is Melissa's mother?