Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
We hopped onto our motorbikes, baskets full of basic medical equipment, colored pencils, and paper. As we drove along the bumpy road, we prepared ourselves mentally for what was coming. As we went around the last bend in the road, we saw the heaps of garbage. I felt my heart jump, but I scolded myself for being so anxious. As we drove past the clusters of people, we were greeted with smiles from the men and woman and children ran after us.
Welcome to the Mae Sot garbage dump. Compasio has been building relationships with the families who live here. These people are often exposed by westerners who come in, photograph and video tape their circumstances only to leave, sometimes even without saying a word. Compasio simply comes into the lives of the people to talk to them, spend time listening, and to be a reminder that they have friends, they have advocates.
As we left the dump, we looked back and saw that the kids were still intrigued by the paper airplanes they had been taught to make and we knew that the origami cranes they had folded would be placed in a safe places to be admired by all. But, more than any physical objects we left behind, we knew that they knew we would be back again next week, and the week after that, and the week after that. Because that is the heart of relief, not just bringing materials to save someone physically, but to bring a relationship into bloom, because as Allan Brown says “We’re not galloping in as their saviors but we’re there to sit with them and to get to know them. They’re our equals; they’re our brothers and sisters. Relief and development are tools that we use as we go out and love people. When the rice is gone or the clothes are worn out, that’s the stuff that lasts, that’s what changes lives.”
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Two boys who attend our drop in center disappeared last Wednesday. Gone. No one would say what happened. The only information we had was that they had gone to Bangkok to sell flowers. It seemed suspicious to say the least. We began a desperate search, we would not let our kids just disappear with no reaction. We went into the community to search for information, we went to the immigration office in hopes of someone having seen them, we contacted World Vision, and we prayed.
There was little hope that we would ever see them again. Usually when kids are taken to Bangkok they disappear. No one ever hears from them again. World Vision of Mae Sot specializes in trafficking cases, and even they were doubtful that we would find the boys, though they were willing to type up a report and keep an eye out. Yesterday, as my friend was on a way to meet with WV, she saw, out of the corner of her eye, a bicycle with bags for collecting bottles and cans; a telltale sign of some of our older boys out collecting garbage. She turned around and as the boys approached her she saw that the two missing boys were with them. Somehow, they had returned to Mae Sot.
She was ecstatic and hugged both of them exclaiming “What are you doing here? Where were you? We were looking for you!” This is what they said…
They had met a guy who promised to give them 20,000 bot each if they went to Bangkok. The boys agreed and the man told them to meet him at the grocery store. They got into his car, and they drove to a second location where there was a van. The guy blindfolded them and they later woke up lying in a truck with twelve other boys. As they talked, they figured that they had been kidnapped and they would be sold. They had been drugged to fall asleep and were now on their way to Bangkok. Somehow they were able to escape from the truck and began to make their way back to Mae Sot by walking and hitchhiking. God had done what we thought was impossible. He brought these boys back to us safe and unharmed.
They cooperated with World Vision, telling them their story and describing the man who had attempted to traffic them. We’re hoping that with their information, the other boys can be found and returned, and the men who are at the root of this will be charged. Not only that, but now the boys will have a firsthand experience of how dangerous it is to go to Bangkok. It's not a new and better life, it is prison. We're praying that the community will understand this and not allow strangers to enter and promise payment for the lives of their children.
We were able to intercede this time, but I know that there are thousands of other children who are not as lucky and have no one to care that they are gone. I pray that we, followers of Christ, will join together to fight against this injustice. Because, it is real and it is unacceptable.