Chris Dodd writes an account of his visit to Bunchuai's family who live 400 km from Lamphun
Bunchuai is from the "Ahka" Hill tribe people, these Hill tribe people are spread all over the north of Thailand and his family home in the village of Baan Moo Rom Saha Mit in the province of Tak which is some 400 kilometres south from our Lamphun home. Our 4 hour journey to the city of Tak along highway 11 (which is the main route to Bangkok from Chiang Ma)i, was a pleasant one blessed with good weather, clear skies and sunshine which made it a very easy drive. When we arrived in Tak city centre we then turned right heading in the direction of the town of Mae Sot on the Thai- Burmese border, (if you are looking for a new destination for your visa renewal its worth the journey) arriving an hour and a half later, although a little wetter than we started, luckily just as the rain started on the accent through the mountains we found a place to eat our picnic lunch out of the heavy downpour...perfect timing!
Bunchuai's home was still another hour from town of Mae Sot heading south adjacent to the border, the weather was by then drizzly but not heavy. Despite the weather it was a pleasure driving through the beautiful countryside with it's green rolling hills either side of the road hopefully the area will prosper from the opening of trade with Burma to the outside world. When we pulled up outside Bunchuai's family house we were greeted by his Grandmother who was a lovely friendly woman who was happy to pose for photos with us. We met with a village elder who was more than happy to help us and he arranged for us to meet the "Pu Yai Ban" to complete our paperwork.
We didn't stay too long in the village but long enough for Bunchuai to meet up again with his Dad, Stepmother and his 2 half Sisters plus other family members, unfortunately for him his Mother abandoned him when he was young which is why he ended up at the temple of Wat Don Chan in Chiang Mai where he lived for many years before joining our HTF programme. Since joining the HTF programme Bunchuai has exceeded all expectations at school, has recently represented Thailand's U16 cricket team in Malaysia where he performed extremely well as a wicketkeeper batsman. He is a very likeable young man with a bright future.
On the way back from Bunchuai's family home in Ban Moo Rom Saha Mit in Tak, we wanted the kids of the HTF cricket sponsorship programme to see something besides the highway so we opted for the Bhumibol Dam, it was only a 20 kilometre detour from the main highway, so just a perfect place to visit to break up the long journey back to Lamphun.
The Dam is named after King Bhumibol the current King of Thailand, who incidentally, if you didn't know, is the longest reigning monarch in the world, but it doesn't appear that the King had much input to the development of the Dam other than his name, although king Bhumibol is involved in many other worthwhile "Royal projects" all over Thailand well over 2000 to date, and many of the new Royal projects involve helping the Hill tribe people of Thailand to give them sustainable living. An enjoyable visit and a good weekend break from the daily cricket training in Lamphun...we all got to see another part of Thailand and added an educational visit to finish off the weekend.