Yan's Corner - In Touch

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Teen Voices

I read this letter from an American teen writing home from Thailand at www.bruderhof.com.

The site allows reprint of the article with the following credit line -

Reprint from www.bruderhof.com

Here is the link to the letter if you would like to see the pictures.

Here is the letter -

I have a little Thai brother whose name is Wan. When I walk to the ocean on Saturday and Sunday I pass his house. He is watching and runs out to join me, barefoot, over the glass and thorns and down to the shore. We pick up shells, trying to find perfect ones, and chase the crabs and build with sand. We swim in the warm water of the Andaman Sea and try to hold hands while the waves pull us apart. Wan is ten.

On weekdays I come home from teaching and my little Burmese sister is waiting to welcome me home with a hug. I don't know her name (she won’t tell me—I don’t know why) but I think she is nine. Some days she wants to paint and hang her pictures on my wall. Some days she wants to learn English, and once with colored string she made us matching bracelets. And every day -never mind the heat or rain - she wants me to push her on the swings.

Sah is thirteen. She often spends the night in my room when she is left at home alone. Right next door live Fie, eleven, and her older brother Bee. They spend almost every evening at my house, as do Bam, Boy, Boa, and several others.

All these children, Burmese and Thai, are little brothers and sisters to me. As their big sister I want all the best for them. I want them to make good grades in school, to go home happy to families who love them. I want their childhood to be a strong foundation for their future.

But Wan, my crab-chasing friend, has no secure home. His house was destroyed by the tsunami. Since then a mining company has claimed the land, even though his parents and neighbors have started to rebuild. Now there is a major dispute, and it has gone to the courts. For Wan, the future is uncertain.

My little sister from Burma does not make good grades in school because she is not allowed to go to school. She is the child of one of thousands of Burmese immigrants trying to make in Thailand what they cannot make at home. In a few years she will probably join her parents in construction. She will start at dawn and work late into the night, building for a country not her own.

Sah has no family to love her. Her mother lives in Phuket, she does not know her father, and the tsunami killed her older brothers and grandfather.

Fie's mother was murdered. She and Bee live with their father, a fisherman who is rarely home.
Bam's mother was fifteen when she had Bam. She left her baby to be raised by her grandmother. What about Boy? And Boa? And all the rest?

I see the pain of each one - what they suffer each day. Their right - he right of every child to security and love - have been robbed from them, never to be returned. There is nothing to justify or explain this tragedy. But something has to be done.

So my question is, How can I help them? What can I do for my little brothers and sisters - for all my little brothers and sisters around the world?


The writer, 16, has lived in Ban Nam Khem, a Thai resettlement camp for tsunami survivors, since April. Her father teaches English; her mother, art.

2 comment(s):

"So my question is, How can I help them? What can I do for my little brothers and sisters - for all my little brothers and sisters around the world?" So often, that's the question I ask myself too *sigh*

By Blogger fishtail, at 7:15 pm  

Fishtail, if you go the actual article (link provided), there is another link that shows you how you can help them.

Yan

By Blogger Yan, at 7:17 am  

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