I have known Aom for decades, she is a hard working, honest, good, generous and wonderful woman who works more jobs in a week than I have in my entire life.
She lives in Pong Yang Nok, Mae Rim District, in a bucolic little village near the start of the Mae Sa River. My parents bought some land in her village 40 years ago and we used to pay her father 5,000 baht a year just to call us if there was any problem – there never was.
Fast forward thirty five years and I built a small house on that land, enjoying wonderful breaks and weekends away from the city. Aom and her husband Jo became our everything in the village; housekeeper, gardener, communicator, village gossip, bearer of hunted and gathered goodies and friends.
Aom works as a housekeeper for nearly half a dozen houses in the area, she tends her own little vegetable garden, she recently hand-built a house, and she spends her spare time hunting for edibles in the forests. You just don’t get a better sort than her. Her sister Tai runs the village hair dresser and Tai’s son Nino has just opened his very own first business – a bike repair shop. All of this was built on a small patch of land their father, Lung Yok, left to them when he died two years ago. The land sits by the banks of the Mae Sa River and apart from building their home, hair salon and bike repair shop, they managed to rent part of the land out to a noodle shop for 2,000 baht per month. Things were tight, but they made do.
Then the rains came. And continued. And doubled down.
Photos of Tai’s hair salon and Nino’s bike shop…destroyed.
On the morning of the 3rd October a landslide knocked out parts of Tai’s hair salon, wiping her out of all her hair products and machines. It didn’t take long for it to sweep through Nino’s new bike repair shop, “I don’t even have a screwdriver left,” he told us.
Aom has lost her wall, her bed, her fridge and plenty of belongings.
Aom, Tai, Jo and Nino cleaning up the mess
I know that there is a whole world hurting out there and there are many causes to donate to. I am going to buy them a new fridge and a washing machine. But I was hoping that perhaps some of you generous readers out there may be able to help.
Saved from the first flood but then destroyed in next
If you have ANY hair beauty or motorcycle repair equipment – a wrench, a hair dryer, curlers, knots, whatever – that you can spare, or some cash, I am personally guaranteeing that these are good people and are in serious need. They don’t need much! Just enough to get back on their feet so that they can continue to be enterprising and hard working people who are helping to elevate the living conditions of their entire village.
Feel free to send me any questions at email@example.com.
Julaluck Watina is Aom’s account at Bangkok Bank: account number 3580693749.
A fortnight later and work is fully underway. They all help one another