The month of May brought new volunteers to Thailand to join the twelve who are already here. We welcomed Nicole Betteridge (seen here at the airport when she arrived) from the USA, Sarah Cullen from England and Otoli Tuccu from India. We were delighted to be able to spend two weeks with them, getting to know them and teaching them a little about Thailand before they went off to their placement sites to begin their ministry in Thailand. In addition to welcoming new volunteers to Thailand, the CVT Orientation program also welcomes back our Senior CVTs who join us for one week. During that week, they have the opportunity to get to know the new volunteers and to begin to build that strong network of support that our new volunteers need in those first months as they adjust to living and working in Thailand. The Senior CVTs serve as counselors, mentors, and even spiritual guides to keep the new volunteers as eager and excited about their ministry as they are when they first arrive.
But life is not all work and drudgery for our Senior CVTs! They have their own time to recharge their batteries, to share their experiences and solve problems together, and to do something special together that is not open to the new volunteers. This time, we traveled north to Fang together as a group to explore a place in Thailand where the Senior CVTs have never been. First stop: The Oil Fields of Fang. Who would believe that Fang has 25 or more oil wells – or that there are more oil fields scattered throughout Thailand that provide a significant portion of the petroleum needs of Thailand? Well, there – in the middle of a rice paddy – we found an oil well and several more, pumping oil for Thailand’s use.
Next stop: Hinoki House. A wealthy Thai man of Chinese extraction who lived in Japan for 19 years has built a beautiful mansion of cedar and teak in the city of Fang. This man made his fortune making and selling products made from cedar, including cedar oil, cosmetics, cedar chip pillows and mattresses, furniture and so on. The house is amazing – filled with art and all the comforts money can buy, including a large Jacuzzi and sauna. The Senior CVTs had to test one of the beds and mattresses (with permission, of course).
Next stop: Fang Hot Springs. Yes, Fang has hot springs and even a geyser that shots a stream of hot water into the air every fifteen minutes or so. Unfortunately, the geyser was not shooting any water on the day that we visited because they were doing some construction work in the area. But we still got to enjoy the hot springs. On the way to the hot springs, we picked up some birds’ eggs and were able to boil the eggs in the hot water provided by the springs. It did not take more than five minutes for those eggs to be hard-boiled. From there, we went to an area where private pools could be rented so that those who were interested could sit in the warm water. Yes, our Senior CVTs were interested and they spent some time together (men in one pool and women in another) enjoying the warm water from the hot springs. (See photo below) While it was a crazy busy day, it was a special day and one with a lot of memories captured on film.