Thailand Children’s Home: Anything But Ordinary

Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Featured, Thailand | 6 comments

Our second volunteer project was based out of Chiang Mai, Thailand at a children’s home called Nimit Asia.  The home provides 54 boys and girls (ages 4-16) a safe place to grow up, food, and access to a modest education.  We would slowly learn the children’s stories throughout the week:  some are orphans who have no one, while others still have one parent or grandparent in the picture.  The one commonality is that is that it seems that the opportunity to live at Nimit Asia, however briefly, is a better alternative than staying at home.  

Mike and I (and between 3-7 other volunteers) took an hour bus ride every morning to the children’s home in a small town called Doi Saket and spent about 5 hours there each day.  Mr. Boon, the house dad, would pick us up from the bus station each morning and shuttle us to the home.  The kids were on summer break while we were there so we had to fill the time however possible: playing sports, doing arts and crafts, teaching English, etc. There was no structure (which was tough for me) so we had to get creative.  

Mike had no problem getting involved from the start whether it was rough housing with the boys, playing soccer, or learning how to say and pronounce Thai words from the gaggle of adolescent girls that found him very “laaw” (handsome).  For me, it was a little more difficult.  I learned that, while I am an old pro at organized games and educational experiences, I have a hard time “just playing” or “hanging”.  These rambunctious children taught me that I need to learn how to take their lead, relax, and “just play” sometimes.  But, it did not take long for Mike and I to get into a routine.  After feeling things out for two days, we bought some coloring supplies and a simple book for teaching English to help structure some activities to keep the kids interested and occupied during down time.  

The days began with a hoard of grinning children running out to great us in the pickup truck each day. From there, we would color, draw, and teach English with the kids until lunchtime.  Like clockwork, each of the older girls at the home would break away from the fun to begin the meal preparation around 11:30 am each day.  Lunch was always basic but delicious and Mike and I loved watching the kids take the time to pray in unison before the meal.  After lunch it was kind of a free for all.  Some days we would play basketball, soccer, or some other game invented by the children.  Other days, when the sun was unbearably hot, we would stick to the shade and sing, learn to play their version of checkers, or watch one of their 2 DVDs (Alvin and the Chipmunks or Transformers). We even took them on a mini field trip one afternoon to a nearby lake to feed the fish.  Our days at Nimit Asia ended around 3 pm when Mr. Boon would round us up in the pickup truck and cue the children to yell “See you tomorrow!!” in their cute Thai accents.

The days flew by and I sometimes worried that I wasn’t having as much of an “impact” as I had hoped.  So, I was thrilled when one 16 year old girl, Buasorn, expressed a specific interest in learning English.  Buasorn’s mother is blind and she has three siblings from three different fathers.  While incredibly smart, Buasorn might never have the chance to go to school without Nimit Asia.  I spent each morning tutoring her but am struck by how much I will take away from her.

For starters, Buasorn has more artistic talent in her pinky finger than I have in my entire body.  While I led the way on conjugating verbs, she surprised me each day by picking up the guitar and playing a beautiful song or painting a floral watercolor while sitting on the front stoop.  The most memorable moment that I shared with Buasorn was when I cracked the code and figured out which American song she had been humming all week.  She kept talking about her “favorite song” that she had heard somewhere but only knew one line.  After doing some searching online, I stumbled upon Avril Lavigne’s, “Anything but Ordinary.”  Since the other children would normally mob any electronic device in their vicinity, I had to sneak away with Buasom to a quiet room in order to play her the downloaded tune on my iPad.  Words cannot describe the thrill that I felt when her eyes lit up immediately and she started singing along at the top of her lungs.  By the end of the week, we had downloaded the guitar chords and Buasorn was on her way to learning how to play “Anything But Ordinary” on her own.  It quickly became the theme song of the week for me. “Is it enough to love? Is it enough to breathe?…I’d rather be anything but ordinary please.”

Our two weeks at Nimit Asia went so quickly!  It is always difficult to know what kind of lasting impact you can make in such a short time.  We do not know where these children will end up in the future and that is very difficult- they are each allowed only 6 short years at the home to allow time for other  children.  What I do know is that Mike and I will forever remember the names and faces of the little ones that especially enjoyed our company: Joy (Mike’s little shadow all week and ring leader of the boys), Joe (my cuddle buddy with undiagnosed ADHD), Pim (the moody yet unforgettable younger sister of Buasorn), “Big Boy” (whose toothless grin personifies the face of happiness), Bible (the baby of one of the house parents), and of course, Buasorn.  We can only pray that these dynamic kids find a way to beat the odds in life and grow up to be the people they were meant to be…anything but ordinary.



  1. Omg bible! I love him. That face!

  2. The children are also in my hart
    I really miss them greetings Anita

  3. Hey, don’t like starting my day in tears. This story is so so moving…the first one to make me so emotional. It must have been heartbreaking to leave those adorable children. They will all be in my prayers! I miss you both so much.

  4. I too am moved to tears. Thank you so much. I’m so in awe of what you are doing. I’m going to start quoting you guys when I meet with my boys and girls these last few weeks of the school year. God bless.

  5. Moved me to tears. Made me realize how good we have it and probably don’t have as much appreciation as we should have. God Bless you for what your are doing.

  6. I love reading your posts. What wonderful experiences you are having and you both are so good at describing them in detail. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

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