Friday, April 22, 2005

Tsunami Relief

Laos; April 22/2005
I met someone on the 'Slow Boat' who told me some things about the Tsunami Relief Effort that I think may interest some of you.

The woman behind me was having a conversation about the Tsunami relief effort so I joined in. Chelsea and I ended up having a very enlightening talk.
She and her boyfriend, Andrew, work as English teachers in Chiang Rai. They had just got back from Koh Phi Phi. I asked Chelsea what she thought of the relief effort. She told me she was very impressed with the Dive Club there. She said they give supplies and help to the people directly. I told her what I have been told; that the Thai people say they have not been getting the promised funds or help. She agreed that she was hearing the same thing and that's why some people have organized independent and hands on help instead. I asked Chelsea if she actually talked to anyone who had been helped by the Dive Club and she said she had. She said she talked to a Tattoo Shop's owner who was given assistance and equipment to reopen. I got Chelsea's email address and I will follow up on this story shortly. I know there are a lot of you who want to know how you can help but wonder where your money is going.
I told Chelsea my experiences in Kamala Beach, Phuket, where the villagers have nightmares every night wondering if the Tsunami will return. She said she was told that the relief effort is looking for psychologists to come over and help people deal with the psychological aspect of the disaster. She said she found it so amazing how you can talk to a Thai and they seem actually cheerful as they tell you about the death and destruction they saw, but this is just the cultural way they deal with these things. The dive club told her they really need trained electricians and people to help with construction. She said a good book for understanding the Thai mind is: 'Inside Thai Society by Neil Mulder. She said that there is also a great organization that helps the Thai people in many ways, called 'Condoms and Cabbages'.
Chelsea gave me the names of two Websites that work with the 'Dive Club' on Koh Phi-Phi. and

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