So Little for so Much
Organized by: Leo Stakenburg
So Little for So Much
When first I saw Nee, it was her smile that I noticed. It was a smile that came from within and illumined her whole being and made me want to know her more.
Nee was born in Dong Kwang in Isaan Province in Thailand. Dong Kwang is a remote village where as recently as two years ago, no white man had ever been.
Nee grew up there in a rickety wooden structure that let as much light in through the floorboards as it did through the windows. There was no electricity, not a lot of food at times but there was family and there was laughter and there was a determination to develop and celebrate the age old craft of weaving so that income could flow back into the village once more.
Another skill taught to the young women was the deeply restorative skill of Thai massage. When in her adult years, Nee left home to travel further afield, it was that very skill of practising the Thai massage that gave Nee the chance to earn a living and raise some money to send home to her village community.
Nee’s English is still very broken so it was left to a mutual friend, Valerie to share with my husband and me, the depth and breadth of Nee’s vision for her village home. “The people are very proud. The villagers want to earn a living through their home textile industry.
But here’s the thing – their houses are falling over. The houses are built on stilts so the villagers use the space underneath each house to operate their looms communally. The houses do not actually need to be that big. All the cooking is done outside each home in a little makeshift courtyard.
I smiled whimsically as I pictured myself, standing barefoot in the dirt surrounded by multitudinous calls of exotic rainforest birds and stirring a large pot of Thai curry for the evening meal. But then Valerie jerked me back to reality with her next words,”I built a house for Nee’s community”. “You built a house in a remote village in Thailand! That must have cost a fortune!”
Cost of brand new wooden house in Nee’s remote Thailand village = $5,000 “That’s amazing”. I did a rough mental calculation.
Second Reality Check; Pledges of $100 from 50 people = $5,000 Pledges of $50 from 100 people = $5,000 Pledges of $25 from 200 people = $5,000 I decided there and then that I, too wanted to build a house.
Third Reality Check; Somehow I had to find $5,000
Just A Suggestion;
Thai themed ‘Afternoon tea for Nee day’ What if I shared Nee’s vision with my friends. What if each of my Australian buddies gave a Thai - themed “Afternoon tea for Nee day”. Everyone could wear sarongs and go barefoot and drink Thai tea. And put $5/$10/$20 in the “thai” pot for the privilege.
What if the dream became a reality and a new house magically manifested from out the hearts of people that I know and love everywhere, who give, ‘because they can’. Then maybe, somewhere up there in the remote hills of Thailand, the villagers will know that they are not alone and will never again consider themselves to be a forgotten peoples.
Their new house will be a standing testament to the good hearts of Australian people who chose to give back something for all the ‘somethings’ they themselves have received and enjoyed . $5,000, spread around many individuals would equate to so very little and yet would achieve so very much.
What would you like to pledge? Join with Marlies, Lisa and Leo to ‘grow’ a house. Pledge an amount on Facebook.
The person / organisation who donate to most will have "Naming Right' to the new home. The owners will proudly display your name on their new home.