Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I am back at The Mirror Foundation again for my third time round. I think I kinda like it here!! 555+ (hahaha)
I am on a program funded by the Australian Government, called VIDA (Volunteers for International Development Aid). My project is to stay at Mirror and work on one of their projects. The eBannok Handicrafts Project is directed by a dear friend of mine, P'Ao. I am placed here for 12 months, on this project, I am essentially a Marketing and Creative Officer for the eBannok Handicrafts Project.
The Project has been running for quite a few years, they basically hire local Hilltribe people to make their signature product, the Clay Bird Whistles as well as other handicrafts such as bags, pouches, laptop cases and clothing. The project at the moment is draining money from the foundation itself, so I have been brought in to basically develop the branding and start marketing the brand and gain more sales hopefully and get the project to start making a profit.
Recently we had a group of fantastic and enthusiastic consultants come from Australia. They included Emily (a previous volunteer and dear friend of mine), Jesse (he runs a fair trade business in Australia), Deb (a fashion designer and trainer) and Pedo (who was a documentor). This group came to Thailand to train six women how to make various new fashions which in the future be produced to sell to foreign market, essentially Australia, US and Canada. The foundation built a new building adjacent to the current eBannok Shop onsite, which would accommodate all the women and materials and machines for the next phase of the eBannok story.
So keep an eye out, as we will be loading up our new fashion story soon enough!
Friday, December 10, 2010
Here at the Mirror Foundation, we are preparing for Children’s Day 2011 and need your help!
Some of you may already know that Children’s Day is an annual event for the local hill tribe children living in the surrounding communities. We try our best to provide a great day for the children (about 3500 children plus their parents/guardians) and that everyone has as much fun as possible. We give the children toys, food, snack and great day out!
In order to do this we rely on donations given by both individuals and organizations. We are asking both past and future volunteers to help us as we need both toys and contributions towards the food costs for the festival.
If you have any unwanted toys that you are willing to donate please send them to us or if you are able to provide a monetary donation the hill tribe children will be most grateful.
If you are able to help please consider the following:
~ Shipping toys to us from your home may be expensive and a better option may be to bring them with you if you are due to volunteer soon or to give them to future volunteers who may live near you to bring
~ If you are able to cover the cost of shipments please send the donations to;
The Mirror Foundation (Children’s Day 2011
199/1-3 Moo 21 Singhaclai Road,
Chiang Rai, Thailand 57000
If you can contribute some money please do so via Paypal at http://www.themirrorfoundation.org
We thank everyone for your ongoing support and look forward to seeing all the new volunteers who will arrive soon.
Z. and The Mirror Team
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Part 2 aka Day 2-4
There is something about homestead that I just love, maybe its the chickens waking you up at 4am or the flutter they do before they wake you. Which ever I love homestay. We woke up and after doing my few things in the morning I went to help our host mother prepare breaky. I love homestay food! So delicious, not that our food at Mirror isn't good too, just something different.
I was so excited one of the kids brought me a fresh sunflower to eat the seeds. I eat a lot of sunflower seeds back home but had never tried them fresh like this, it tasted like peas or bean seeds. They were yum! Chekidek is what they call them in Turkish (Tys sorry on the spelling). Me with my sunflower, do I need to say more...
Off to work we went, the first day was a little slow as we are really just used for manual labor, unless a volunteer comes with some type of tradesmen skill. But not many do, so its more moving sand or buckets of stuff from one place to another and usually a few cement mixing sessions. Obviously everything has to be done by hand, buckets and a hoe with a bamboo handle. Just a quick note to say bamboo is one of the most amazing things ever in the world!! Some of the villagers who have not been far from the village have never seen white people before so we supplied them with some entrainment. Below is a shot of some of the villagers and the kids that go to the child care centre we were working at.
Our job essentially was to tear down a sala (open air structure made from bamboo) which was at the local Child care centre and rebuild a concrete, walled version. So first was the destruction, it took maybe 1 hour to tear the whole thing down. Its amazing how it is so easy to tear something down so quickly that took so long to build. It was a matter of preparing the foundation and then building the skeleton roof. There were so many villagers there to help (as the village was quite large) so we just did odd bits and pieces. We had some Indoor Program people with us who spent the days there teaching the children. Below is the before picture...
Some volunteers also had to go off site to get sand with a tractor looking vehicle. There was one villager who was a little intoxicated or rather quite a lot that was helping us out. The locals just laughed at him and we tried to avoid him. But no one can say that he didn't do anything, he helped with the sand quite a lot. And saying 'Thank you' in English a lot too.
It took us two days to finish the building, the second day for us was a lot more work that we could do like mixing the cement, cutting the bamboo, getting the sand used as a filler etc. Below is the finished product, we also added in paths.
Our last night we had a celebration and was able to do Lahu dancing, which is similar to line-dancing but you do it in a circle. I love it, its so much fun. And some of the women, including our host mum dressed up in traditional clothing.
We also donated blankets to the village, representatives from each family lined up to receive the blankets from the volunteers. In winter it gets really cold at night (ok not like in Canada) but the thing that gets them here is that the houses are made from wood, bamboo and grass roofs, there is no isolation to keep warmth in, but no warmth to make as there is no heating. They have a fire in the kitchen but they light that every morning and can not sustain it burning all night. In the local village near Mirror, from memory they have a few cases of people dying each year, purely freezing to death during the night. Here are some ladies with their new blankets, 2nd from the right is our host mother.
At the moment Mirror is co-ordinating a blanket and jacket/jumper donation project, to supply blankets to as many houses that they can for the coming winter. If you would like to help this cause please do not hesitate to contact myself or Mirror directly.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Rainy season is basically over and now things are starting the heat up, prior to them cooling down for winter.
Mirror as usual has been pretty busy. Last week we had home-stay for the new volunteers and the outdoor program. We went to village about 2-3 hours away, we packed up into two cars the Eco and the white truck. Linda, Jim and myself were in the back of the eco car and headed off. Of course stopping at the petrol station 20 mins away to get a bucket load of snacks and drinks for our trip, not that we knew how far it was at the time, you know thai time is a little different. And of course who could forget the ice-cream. YUM!
Off we went and was nice to be able to put some time in on Pimslers (?) Thai audio tapes, i think i did like 15 mins then went to music. La la la Needed a bit of a pick me up. Tis all fun a games.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Ok well as most of you know I'm buddhist and have been focusing on it more in the last few years, I am reading a book called 'The Tibetian Book of Living and Dying' its quite a famous book, not just for buddhists but anyone of any faith or of no faith. It talks about essentially a way to live in today's world and how to die. I bought it maybe 6 years ago and haven't really been able to read it and understand and comprehend the ideas til this year. So the chapter I was reading talks alot about the connections we have to various delusions and the way we value things in a our life and life itself over things that should be important but are never really considered regularly.