Learn about Magical Light Foundation’s Winter Distribution Project (Part 2) from Ben Cheong here:
It was the second day of Magical Light Foundation’s Winter Distribution Project in November 2013, where we visited different villages on the mountains at the Thai and Myanmar border in Mae Hong Son. The team in charge of the two villages there was having breakfast in the local market and was almost ready to go.
We were going to make our way to the warehouse to collect our donated items that had been transferred over a few days earlier from Chiang Mai. While we were finishing up our morning Khao Soi, a famous Northern Thai noodle soup, our staff received a called from the chief of the village which we had planned to visit that morning. We were told that they need another twenty blankets from us for the villagers. Immediately, we set off to go and buy an extra twenty blankets from the nearest market, and soon we were ready to start our journey.
The one-hour route up the Shan mountain from Mae Hong Son to the village offered a nice view of the local vegetation and charming mountain scenery. The cool breeze was welcoming on the narrow road to reach the village. However, a few of our volunteers who were sitting at the back of the truck with bags of donated items started to feel nauseas, due to the winding road to our destination. As our vehicle reached Ma Kher Som village in Mork Jam Pae, Mae Hong Son, we were greeted by some villagers at the village’s entrance who kindly directed our vehicle to the community activities’ house further up the slope of the hill.
Ma Kher Som village is home to Pa-O Hill Tribe people, who are the second biggest ethnic group in the Shan state of Myanmar. Both the men and women of the Pa-O hill tribe wear distinct dark indigo clothing, with most of the women wearing bright and colourful headdresses of woven scarves or colourful towels. The eighty families have been staying here for many years and are originally from Shan state, but have managed to settle in this village at the Thailand border for a few generations.
While we started to unload and arrange the donated items, the villagers began assembling themselves into organized stations to receive the items. The village chief called out the villagers’ names and asked them to queue up according to the list in his hand. We were happy with the arrangement as it ensured we had enough blankets and winter clothing to give to every family that was present. After the distribution of the winter goods, we checked with the village chief and he confirmed that all of the families had received their winter donations.
Next, we gathered all the children from the village to queue up from the youngest to the eldest (although it actually ended up being the shortest to the tallest). As we were sure that we had enough soft toys for each of the children, we asked them to each hold up their new toy for the photograph. Immediately, the excitement was echoed not only by the kids but also the adults. The smiles of joy and jubilant expressions on the kids’ faces after they chose their special toy to display, which they were hugging and cuddling with happiness, spoke a thousand words to the team who delivered them.
Finally, we asked everyone to gather for a group photo which was followed by a brief chat with the village chief. We were then allowed to take some photos of their village’s houses and other interesting buildings, and we were then on our way back down the mountain and to the nearest town for the evening, before heading back to Chiang Mai the next day.
Part 3 to come very soon! And thank you, everyone, for all the support,
Founder of the Magical Light Foundation.
Learn about Magical Light Foundation’s Winter Distribution Project (Part 1), and visit the Magical Light Foundation website or Facebook page to learn more and get involved in this great cause.