So we've decided to take $600 of our economic stimulus and use it to make micro-loans and/or donations to villagers in Thailand through a great organization called Floresta. You can see information on their work in Thailand here. They are working with UHDP in Chiang Mai to train hilltribe people sustainable farming practices. Hopefully Nancy and I will get to visit with them when we head to Thailand in December.
Part of the money will also go to support an orphanage in Chiangrai, Thailand where they are working to save poor hill country children from the Thai sex trade, and other horrors. We met the pastor and director last year. Go here for more info. We're hoping other individuals and churches might be interested in joining us in raising money for this incredibly worthy cause. Stay tuned for details.
In the blog post linked above, the executive director of Floresta mentions an article by Dr. Paul Brand that is very worth the read here. In the article he describes an experience as a young person in India learning about the importance of not mucking around in the intricately terraced rice patties. Here are the wise words of the elder keeper of the rice patties:
Tata was not ready to stop his lesson as quickly as that, however. He went on to tell us that just one handful of mud would grow enough rice for one meal for one person, and it would do it twice every year for years and years into the future. "That mud flowing over the dam has given my family food since before I was born, and before my grandfather was born. It would have given my grandchildren and their grandchildren food forever. Now it will never feed us again. When you see mud in the channels of water, you know that life is flowing away from the mountains."
The old man walked slowly back across the path, pausing a moment to adjust with his foot the grass clod in our muddy channel so that no more water flowed through it. We were silent and uncomfortable as we went off to find some other place to play. I had experienced a dose of traditional Indian folk education that would remain with me as long as I lived. Soil is life, and every generation is responsible for all generations to come.