Thursday, April 14, 2011

Give me your eyes

Music really stirs my soul and makes me feel closer to GOD. I can't count how many times a poignant song will make me cry. I felt compelled to put together this video after listening to this song because I often feel that I may be looking at the world, but not really seeing it. Do you know what I mean? I recently attended a week long workshop on HIV/AIDS in Bangkok and during the workshop there was lots of talk of how we need to reduce stigma and discrimination in the HIV/AIDS community because we are all the body of Christ and when one of us is hurting we are all hurting.
We all agreed on that and felt very strongly that we needed to love each other as Christ loved us. During the evenings of the workshop the group went on their own to find dinner on the streets of Bangkok. The area where we were had lots of beggars and I never know how to deal with beggars. Do I give to them and possibly perpetuate their continued begging or do I ignore them and pretend they don't exist? I went to my default and ignored them and tried to pretend they don't exist, because they make me feel uncomfortable. I was feeling horrible because here I am attending a workshop on HIV/AIDS to reduce stigma and discrimination and yet I am intentionally ignoring a person (part of the body of Christ) that is hurting. Which means that I am hurting, but hurting from the lack of my response to my fellow man. I feel like such a fraud sometimes. I decided to go out of my comfort zone the next night and approached a young lady sitting on the overhead walkway that I had walked past the previous three nights. I smiled brightly as I approached her and was greeted with an equally big smile and I asked her what her name is and where she is from. I learned her name is Doi and she is 25 years old and is from Cambodia. She has one child and is living on the streets. It was a little difficult to get the information because she spoke very little Thai and English. I gave her some food and a little bit of money. I felt much better after I got to talk to her and treat her like a human being. It doesn't mean I will always go out of my comfort zone, but I will certainly try harder. What is keeping you from going out of your comfort zone and reaching out to those who are in desperate need? What is GOD showing you that you are not seeing?

I've taken these photographs in the video during my time in India and here in Thailand. These are the things that GOD has shown me.

For the last 2 years CAM has been working with an amazing group of young people by helping them tell their story. These 18 kids ranging in age from 8-17 years old were trained and equipped with cameras to help document their lives and how HIV/AIDS affects them. All the kids are in some way affected by HIV/AIDS either through infection or they are caretakers of family members that are HIV infected. In reality, they have no sense of a normal childhood. They are voiceless and have been put on the margins of society due to no fault of their own. CAM wanted to be a catalyst to help these young impressionable kids process what is happening in their lives and to help them by creating a peer support group. The kids were brought together every 4-6 weeks for fellowship with kids in their own situation and it was a time to share and reflect on what is going on in their lives. During these times together the kids would edit their photos and were working on their scrapbook.

The staff at CAM became more than just people doing their job, they became like family to these young lives. They became the parents of the kids that have lost theirs due to HIV/AIDS. I have been amazed at the resiliency of some of these kids as I hear their tragic stories. Yet, despite their circumstances they are open and upbeat and have a zest for life.

The kids finally got to put together a photo exhibition of their lives and share it with the community. This was also a great chance for them to say how much the people in their lives meant to them. The turn out to see the Photo Exhibition was great and was very well received.

One by one each kid had the opportunity to show his/her exhibition board and explain what the photos represented and how the people in them were important in their lives. In between groups of 4-5 kids showing their photos was a video presentation of their work with music in the background.

I was very impressed with all the time and effort the kids put in on presenting their lives and felt I was watching lives transformed before my very eyes.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Merry Christmas

I think the video speaks for itself!


Lots of love from the Faucett Family

Friday, October 8, 2010

"My Story" by Jenny

“We cannot choose the circumstances of our birth but we can choose how we live out our lives”

My name is Jenny. I am 18 years old. My father died when I was a young girl, and my mother remarried and I and my little sister lived with my grandmother. We were both HIV positive as a result of my mother’s infection.

I got to know the staff of CAM since I was 5 years old, because they visited my neighbours, and then our family. My neighbor introduced us to CAM because they knew that my 3 year old sister was unwell, and then CAM realized my grandmother was caring for 2 small children who were HIV positive. My sister died when she was just 5 years old and I was 7 years old. CAM has continued to help us and visit us almost every month for over 10 years, and have helped us with many things, such as school costs ( such as fees, uniforms, food and books) and have always been a source of encouragement and advice for my grandmother and I. CAM staff are like family to me- Khun Nawanat and Khun Jaruwan have been like a mother for me throughout my life.They have helped put me in touch with hospitals and social services that are available to help people living with HIV/AIDS. Through this I have been able to attend camps and training sessions with other young people living with HIV, like me. I have a very good doctor, Dr Suparat, at the hospital who shows care and empathy for all of us- she is a very special lady.

I have now finished my school studies and will be going to university this year. I would first like to study to be a nurse. I want to be able to help and care for other people, especially my family members and my friends who are also HIV positive. I want to help them to be strong and healthy despite being HIV positive. If I am unable to be a nurse, I would like to be a senior school teacher so that I can help teach young people to be good citizens.

I would like to thank Dr Erlinda and the CCA AIDS Programme for sponsoring me and giving me the opportunity to share my story with you all. May God Bless you.
Thank you.

Her name was changed in this post to protect her identity. Jenny is part of my HIV/AIDS photo project. She is an amazing young lady and I believe she has a bright future ahead of her despite having HIV.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Memorial to Mai

A Time of Tears and a Time to Trust
It is with great sadness that we tell you about the death of Mai. Mai was the young boy with cerebral palsy that lived in a bamboo cage for 12 years before coming to Hope Home. Mai was a special boy whose smile could light up the room. Although this past year he lived in a new home for boys with special needs, I still continued to visit Mai, take him on outings and bring him to special events held at Hope Home. Mai taught us all so much about unconditional love. No matter what kind of day I was having, whether I was stressed out or worried or had a headache, after spending time with Mai I always had a smile on my face and my burdens were lifted and seemed insignificant. Last Sunday Mai suffered a seizure and died in his sleep. Although our hearts are mourning his passing, I trust that Mai is safe in God’s loving arms. Mai was a sweet, sweet boy who will hold a special place in our hearts forever.

Please click on the link below

Memorial to Mai

Friday, August 6, 2010

What dreams are made of

I woke up at about 6am this morning and stumbled downstairs and made my way to the kitchen to make myself a cup of coffee. I sat in front of the computer for a few minutes and went through some emails. Morning's are the only time I get to myself and I like to savor the quietness and calm before the storm. I heard Acacia strolling down the stairs and plop down on the couch at about 6:30

I got up from my desk and joined her on the couch. I started to joke with her a little bit. Acacia unfortunately acquired my sarcastic sense of humor and we love to go back and forth with the jokes. However, this morning when I was talking to her I noticed that her eyes were welling up and her little chin was quivering. "What's wrong honey"? "Nothing Dad", as she turns to try to hide her face and avoids all eye contact. "Hey Acacia, I want to show some pictures of the kitties we saw yesterday on the computer".

She follows me to the office and climbs onto my lap to look at the pictures. I ask again, "Acacia, what's wrong sweetie". She covers her eyes and keeps trying to change the subject. My interest is really peaked. "Are you sad about something or have a bad dream"? Her bottom lip and chin start to quiver and her eyes are getting glassy and moist. "I dreamed of a wonderful place, but I am so sad it will never really happen." "What kind of place honey." She begins to describe the dream all the while on the verge of tears. I cradle her in my arms and I encourage her to tell me more about this dream.

In Acacia's own words.

My dream started when I woke up in a small tent it was bigger inside than outside. I was going to a special camp in heaven. The first day at camp we swam in the ocean, it was wonderful. Then we went to a cabin and played go-fish in the cabin. Day 2, we went surfing on whales and I heard God's voice trying to tell me something, I tried to figure it out then the door opened. It was a big treat...My family: Anna, Shelly and Brett were there. I gave them a seashell made of rainbow gold. Then we kissed and hugged and I went to my tent.

Day 3: I went mountain climbing and saw God's face (I can't remember what it looked like) I was shocked, then I went to a cove where God's face was carved in the stone. Then I woke up startled.

She seemed relieved to talk about it and I asked her to draw some pictures of what she saw and experienced in her dream. This dream seemed to profoundly affect her and I felt it was an incredible bonding experience with my little girl. Did she see heaven? I don't know, but I saw heaven in her. Love you with all my heart honey!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sunday Afternoon

We are back! It has been 5 1/2 long months since we've been back in the "Land of Smiles." We like to spend some of our Sunday mornings going to the Wawee Coffee and then walking across the bridge to the Warorot Market. Warorot is a huge flower market and they have great outdoor food stalls as well. It is a very chaotic place teeming with masses of people and vehicles of all kinds. I don't know how I lived without Wawee coffee before coming to Thailand. It is very addicting! Must be the caffiene.

The girls aren't too adventourous when it comes to Thai food. However, Anna will try most Thai foods. We ordered "Kow Phak Gai" - translation- fried rice with chicken. Can't go wrong with fried rice. While we are eating we just try to blend in with the rest of Thailand. Occasionally people will realize we are foreigners and Anna will usually get her chubby cheeks pinched. The Thai people can't seem to help themselves. For some reason they don't get too excited about pinching my cheeks. I don't get it! Maybe it is the cute factor and apparently I don't have it.

We feel so at home here and it is wonderful to be back. The girls are getting back into somewhat of a routine and our sleep patterns have started to become regular. I think it is safe to say that we are over our jet lag. It still seems so surreal that we are actually back in Thailand. We have been back only 11 days, but sometimes I have to pinch myself, usually on the cheek, since nobody else will.

The girls seem to be adjusting well to being back here, although the heat and humidity is draining us of energy. I forgot how hot and humid it can get here. I have to take 2-3 showers a day just keep me from feeling sticky all the time. I had heard from my friends that we were gone back to the States during one of the hottest years on record for Chiang Mai. Thank God for that one. Even the Thais were complaining of the heat. If they were complaining, then you know it was hot.

I also wanted to appologize to all who follow this blog that I haven't kept up on the posts regularly. The time spent in the States doing fundraising was an all consuming job in itself. I do appreciate your patience.

It was just about to rain as we headed back to our car to go home. Great timing. This is the Monsoon season, so it rains practically everyday. The girls love this season and look forward to playing in the rain every chance they get.

We will keep you all posted on this next chapter in our lives and hope you can walk this journey of faith with us. Until next time Acacia and Anna would like to say "Sawat dii Kaa"