Here we go again on a long boring coach trip to the far side of Thailand. I am sitting in a coach with my parents and their friends heading up north to Chiang Mai province. It’s kind of a tradition for my family to go away on Children’s Day every year. It isn’t that we are going away for a holiday. It’s something I would prefer to call a “charity holiday” because we are really going to help others as well as celebrating national Children’s Day.
Every year, my family goes to visit soldiers in the border areas of Thailand. The point is to give something back to them as they are doing a wonderful job of protecting our country. It is a very dangerous and hard working job that could easily cause them to die. Everyone knows it. That’s why we go to visit the soldiers, to show them that people appreciate and worry about them.
My grandfather was the one who started this project over ten years ago. It started as a small group of his friends but is now well known around Paknam. Every 1st of January, my grandfather sets up a small tent by the market to let people know about what we’re going to do this year. People come along to donate some goods and some money.
Then, on Children’s Day, we set off in a convoy of coaches to the far side of Thailand. We take with us everything that was donated to give to the soldiers and poor people. We also use the donated money to buy the soldiers a box of presents each. In the box, there is some personal and useful stuff such as underwear, toothbrush, socks etc.
This might sound a little unbelievable to some people. You might say something like “No one would do such a thing like that without getting anything back” or maybe “I bet some of that money will drop into your pocket” etc. Blah blah blah … . I want to say this to them all; my family is not getting any money out of this at all. In fact we are losing money though we really don’t mind because it’s what we want to do.
Personally, I think my grandfather is doing a very kind and generous thing! On our trip last year he organised five coaches and several hundred people to go to Nong Khai province. We went to visit several army bases near the border of Thailand. From there you can see Laos, which is on the other side of the Mekong River.
At each army base we unloaded the gifts for the soldiers. My grandfather first said some words to everyone then the people that had come along with us on this trip took turns to present the gifts to the soldiers. When we had finished, we all got back into the coaches and set off for the next army base! It was quite tiring doing this but I think it was worth it.
It wasn’t all hard work as we also stopped to visit some important temples and other places in Nong Khai. One of the highlights was Wat Sala Kaew Goo. For me it’s not much like a temple but a jungle of many huge statues. All of them were showing the life of Buddha, which was really interesting. We also went on the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge. But it was a shame that I was too tired to walk over to the far end.
See, that wasn’t much like a holiday! I don’t really know why I keep going with them every year even though no one is forcing me. Maybe it’s because this is something that I can do together with my parents and grandparents. I do quite enjoy doing it even though some years it is really boring sitting on the coach for a long time! Anyway, I feel very good after I come back from the trip. It’s always nice to do a good thing for others, right?