The 9th of September started as an ordinary day at Baan Unrak. The children woke up and gathered for the morning meditation, then they had breakfast and went to school. Not a single word was heard about a birthday during the whole day.
The previous years, on this same day, the children had prepared something very special, very beautiful.
One year ago, they had decorated the whole lunch room for this occasion!
Two years ago, they chose the meditation room as the setting for the celebration.
And this year… nothing! Apparently… nothing.
Could it be that the children had forgotten about Didi’s birthday?
The day went on, the sun set, and the children gathered all together once again for the evening meditation.
Yet, again, nothing special happened. And everybody left…
Almost everybody! A few children remained and clustered around Didi. Suddenly, a couple of girls appeared from down the corridor. They were bringing a cake, and Didi’s eyes brightened up!
The cake was shared among the few children present. It was a beautiful, intimate moment, in the dim light of our meditation room by now emptied.
Then, we said goodnight, and everybody went to sleep…
And that was it? Was it really over just like that?
Meanwhile, somewhere on the road to Sangkhlaburi…
…Tarakanat – the first baby of Baan Unrak, now a man – was speeding his way to the Children’s Home, trying to make it before it was too late.
He was coming all the way from Bangkok, bringing something very special. And all the children were – secretly – waiting for him, trying hard not to fall asleep.
9 pm, 9:30 pm… still nothing. It was getting very late – at least for us, early birds of Baan Unrak who wake up before sunrise.
At last, well past 10 pm, we heard the sound of a car approaching. And everybody got ready to put the plan into action!
Our big surprise to Didi!
When Didi was accompanied down to the courtyard, she found the children holding candles in the dark, making a path of light for her to walk through.
This path was leading… to the new study room! Here, in the basement of our lunch room, is where the children had prepared their surprise for Didi, passing completely unnoticed.
And finally we could sing “Happy Birthday!”, “Buon Compleanno!”, and “Suk San Wan Gert!”
Then, Tarakanat gave the present to Didi. It was a big box where, lost among countless strings of paper, there was…
…a sack of rice!
Hidden inside… a brand-new laptop was waiting for Didi! It was a much needed gift, to replace her old one.
38 (38!!!) former children of Baan Unrak had saved their money together to buy it.
Didi was visibly moved by this gesture of her children. And when she switched the laptop on, she even found her picture on the desktop, together with the names of all that contributed.
To top it off, the moment of throwing candies could not be missed!
And finally, everybody went to sleep…