The Joy of Painting

The afternoon painting workshop with Irene has become a daily unmissable appointment for a group of very passionate children.

The venue is the quiet space of the library, among wooden shelves full of books and a relaxing green floor, with views of trees and the lake from the big windows and the sun that comes shining in.

Sometimes, even the little ones come to unleash their creative vein..!

Little Artists At Work

Another day, another artwork

Some of the Works

And a Good Story…

A sponsor came to visit Baan Unrak all the way from Australia. After the collective meditation, Didi showed her the paintings made by the children, and the sponsor immediately fell in love with one in particular, so much that she decided to buy it!

Em, the artist child, was called right away to come back to the meditation room. Here he confessed that, proud of his drawing, his intention was to give it as a present to Didi.

He then accepted happily to sell it, promising that he would have done another one, even more beautiful, for Didi the next day.

Painted Bags

The paintings also decorate shopping bags that will be sold to support Baan Unrak Children’s Home.

Some of these painted shopping bags are already flying to Italy with our two veterinarians volunteers that just left.

Stay tuned to read about what our veterinarians friends have done here at Baan Unrak… in the next blog article!

The Goats of Baan Unrak on Noah’s Ark

On Sunday morning we went to visit our goats at the farm by the lake. Walking under the sun down the hill, the lake looked so beautiful…

We met the goats in their wood and bamboo house in the farmers’ village. And it felt as if the goats were waiting for us! The children sneaked in and started playing with them.

Then we all jumped on the goats’ floating house for a great adventure on the water.

Sailing!

Guided by our farmer named Radio – and powered by a newly donated engine – we sailed across the lake looking for meadows for our goats to graze.

The bamboo floating house was fully loaded with children and goats. It was a scene that resembled Noah’s Ark!

We finally found the perfect place, so we moored the floating house and, goats first, children then, one by one jumped down on mainland.

Our goats were so happy to graze freely in those vast meadows.

And the children were emulating them, jumping around just like… happy goats!

Heading Back…

All good things come to an end. And so, very soon it was already time to leave our funny goats to their grazing and head back. Our farmer brought the children back on the boat, while the goats remained on the other side of the lake till the late afternoon. The children were still very excited on the trip back to Baan Unrak.

It was an unforgettable Sunday morning… wasn’t it?!

Update:

We are lucky to have with us two new volunteers at Baan Unrak. They are veterinarians, and will help us to take even better care of our dear goats!

Here you can read the story of our special goat Lucky.

Emotional Management with Sandy Part I

First of all I would like to wish Happy New Year to everyone. Hope everyone started their year with small if not big celebrations with people you love.

In 2019 my monthly visits to Baan Unrak were focused at consistency, to create presence, getting to know the children and establishing positive rapport. This consistency created trust and through the months the children opened up to me about various issues ranging from friendships and misunderstanding, anger issues, fear of failure, self-doubt, romance, impulsiveness, attention seeking behaviors and false expectations.

The workshops in the previous year were focused on topics such as physical boundaries, self-care, puberty, sex education, boundaries awareness and protection.

In 2020 we will focus on emotional management, we will do different activities and learn to 1) understand and manage my own emotions 2) understand others’ emotions and how to react.

In our first workshop “Understanding and Managing My Emotions”, I officially introduced myself as a counseling psychologist. I started our workshop with a brief knowledge of psychology and what counselors do. Some of the children that have spoken to me privately were very eager to offer an explanation to the group about what happens in a counseling session. In the workshop we learnt about basic emotions Love, Joy, Fear, Excitement, Anger, Disgust and Sadness using a short youtube clip of characters from “Inside Out” movie.

The children were especially attentive when we talked about the brain’s function in regulating our emotions. The fight or flight responses, how and why we tend to react emotionally or impulsively before our logical thinking kicks in, sometimes making us regret our actions. Together we practiced some techniques to help regulate emotions such as counting backwards to awake the thinking brain, deep slow breathing lying down with hands on chest and stomach.

We learnt that simple addition or multiplication can help us take control of our emotions. We learnt that we cannot multiply 123*123 and be angry at the same time because when we are using our rational reasoning brain we are in control, rather than our emotions.

We learnt that while I like to go for a walk or listen to music when I am feeling happy, my friend prefers these activities when she is sad. A perfect introduction for my next visit, in which we will learn about “Understanding Others’ Emotions and How to React”.

Lastly, Baan Unrak would like to express our great appreciation for the incredible resources. A big thank you to Mr. Bordin Supasilp for sharing the resources for this topic.

New Year’s Games

We welcomed the new year in the purest way at the wooden Pagoda, all reunited in collective meditation as the sun was rising. Then, as the first day of 2020 unfolded, we started to play!

And so, after lunch the children were racing up and down the dining hall carrying a friend on their back, or in their arms, or as a wheelbarrow… or in every way they could!

The floor was all slippery, covered with flour as it was, after the children had previously played the classic “eat & drink” (see the children playing it in Pattaya), which also involves finding a coin in a plate full of flour, indeed.

Then, we all enjoyed the very first ice cream of the year!

Word reached us that a wonderful castle had arrived in the village for the holidays. So we decided to go and find out after dinner…

When we got to the evening market, we remained wowed: a colorful bouncy castle was right there, waiting for our children to conquer it!

The inflatable fortress was suddenly invaded by our children jumping, sliding and running up and down on it until exhaustion. They loved it so much that the evening trip to the castle became a must for three days in a row!

The memory of this adventure will live on in the children’s hearts for a long time, as well as their laughters and the joy in their eyes will remain impressed in the minds of the volunteers who accompanied them.

Welcoming a New Year

A surprise

It all started with a surprise, as often happens in such occasions at Baan Unrak. Bidding farewell to 2019 was one of those special moments.

The children put up a little show for Didi in the evening, to thank her once again, for everything. And so they performed a piece of theater, then sang songs together, and finally gave Didi some presents.

The Night Celebration

All the Home of Joy gathered down at the football field for a collective meditation, the last of 2019.

A beautiful fire was burning, and we were standing all around it holding hands, singing that Infinite Love is All There is – Baba Nam Kevalam.

Didi invited every one of us to let go into the fire of all the negative things, all the negative thoughts, the pain, the hurt, the sadness, in order to start anew. And so, with cupped hands we offered to the fire all the bad, to let it burn.
Then we lit lanterns that took flight up in the sky, to which we sent our best wishes for the new year.

The Morning Kirtan

We welcomed the first day of the year at our beloved Pagoda, at the top of the hill were our Home sits. From up here, we could see the first rays of sun shining from behind the mountains over the lake, warming us, while singing the universal mantra as one, in a gorgeous, pure vibration of Love.

Happy 2020 to all of you!

Stay tuned for the next article, to find out about all the fun we had lately in the day..!

And click below to see how we welcomed the previous years:

A Fresh Morning, A Fresh Start (2019)

A New Beginning (2018) and also Farewell! 2017 (2018)

A Joyful Christmas at Baan Unrak

Christmas this year have been particularly special at Baan Unrak. Especially because we could share this joyful moment with many guests. Our friends from Sai Baba organization where with us, and after 3 intense days of Service, we had a big celebration on their last day. And so, first it was…

Presents Time!

All gathered in the dining hall, beautifully decorated with paper snow crystals and cotton snowflakes, every child received a big bag full of gifts, from clothes to toys, comic books and much more. Just see the joy in their eyes!

Then, when the sun went down, we got ready for the much awaited…

Christmas Show!

We even had our goats, ducks, and even cows to participate in the live nativity scene, with our teenagers Somsi as Mary and Mina as Joseph, while little Tanwa was the cutest baby Jesus.

The show started with the smaller children performing a traditional Karen dance. Then little Puspa, 5 years old, microphone in hand, delighted the audience singing “Head shoulders knees and toes!”

The atmosphere was magic when, by candlelight, guided by Didi’s soft voice we meditated together. Breathing in Love… and breathing out Love…

Then we recreated the story of the Nativity in a beautiful Shadow Show, with cardboard silhouettes made by the children.

The Indian dance, full of grace and charm, followed.

And then Baan Unrak signature: the Yoga Show!

We also had clown waiters serving pizza, tea and chocolate cake to the public! After the show, the children jumped on stage and started dancing. Then, they went behind the scenes and kept on dancing some more, in a funny and improvised shadow show!

Here you can see the previous Christmas celebrations at Baan Unrak:

December Celebrations (2018)

Mystical Christmas (2017)

Love All, Serve All!

We’ve been very lucky to have our friends from Sai Baba organization to come once again to Baan Unrak this year. All the way from Malaysia, Singapore and India, we enjoyed the company of 30 tireless helpers at our Home.

In 3 days, they made so much work for us and the community around us which left us speechless. These are people with normal jobs and families, which decide to devote their holidays to Service. It’s been so inspiring for all the staff and children of Baan Unrak to have them here.

Click here to see what our friends did for us last year.

In this article, get a taste of all the things we’ve done together during these very intense and productive days.

Bringing Relief to the Community

Installing Solar Home Light

Painting our Home

Helping with our Agriculture Project

Cooking for All

Sharing Love

Preparing for Christmas

Stay tuned for the the next article, to see how we celebrated Christmas this year!