Baan Piranan- a Home for the (dis)ABLED

With each Friday morning comes the long, bumpy drive to Baan Piranan to visit with Nong Mai, Witchai and Joop Jang. In the past few weeks, the road has seemed even longer and bumpier the boys (Nong Mai and Witchai) have been growing increasingly bored of working with paintbrushes and extenders and the young Joop Jang, raised in a prison and thought to be fully blind and mostly deaf, remains a mystery. We at CCT have racked our brains trying to think of anything new that will fall within the parameters cruelly set by these children’s disabilities. We have used pastels, introduced music, videos, and computer games, worked with stamps made of potatoes, and even tried using corncobs as paint rollers! To think of new activities for the young boys has been frustrating. To find downfalls in even the simplest activities because they do not fall between those thin parameters is angering – anger comes with the fact that this disease exists, anger comes with the realization that Nong Mai was caged for the majority of his life, and anger comes with the fact that six year old Joop Jang only had her first bite of solid food in the last few months. It is anger that, though justifiable, is nonetheless disheartening.

However, the product created this week has made every bit of frustration and anger I have felt in attempting to find activities entirely worthwhile. I must continually remind myself that “disabled” does not mean “unable” and that there exists a whole world of things that these boys are able to do. This week, moving away from colors, we turned to something a bit wilder – exploring life under the sea. Using contact paper, we put clear stencils of fish and coral onto a large piece of white paper. Using watered down acrylic paints in spray bottles, the boys sprayed greens and blues and even some orange and maroons onto this large paper. While the paint spread over the paper and floor and fingers and toes, smiles and laughter spread even quicker. How quickly the anger I feel through the week is able to dissolve in that room! While at Baan Piranan, the word “disabled” hardly ever comes into my head as I am overwhelmed with keeping up with all that the boys are able to do and all of the beauty that are able to create!

As they say, within each artist is a tortured soul. Beethoven could not hear a note, Van Gogh cut off his own ear, and our own Nong Mai lived in a bamboo cage. Perhaps this tortured soul exists more in some than in others. But looking at the painted aquarium that now decorates our office, any history of torture is hidden behind a thick layer of green and blue paint and all I can see is happiness. Sending thousands of smiles from Chiang Mai – Aimee.

Baan ViengPing Goes 'Under the Sea'

Yesterday myself, Amp, Sara, Ben, Aimee and Stefaine all headed out to Baan ViengPing to work with 10 of the youngest kids aged from 2-4year olds. There a wild bunch but lots of fun. We had five different art stations all containing the theme 'Under the Sea', with crayon etching and watercolours off images of the sea and fish where the kids made some wonderful paintings. A memory game with flash cards of different coloured fish where we also wrote the colours in Thai and English on the cards, all the kids were very good at this game. A play-doh area where the kids tried to mainly eat it but had lots of fun making fish shapes and making indents in the play-doh and getting messy. The fishing pond game where the kids tried to catch lots of different types of fish out of the pond, they had a lot of fun with this game and last but not least the video clip of 'Finding Nemo', they enjoyed the music and various colours and sea creatures in this clip. Although chaotic at times the workshop was a great success and I think the kids really enjoyed it and had lots of fun, ourseleves included. Here's to the next fun workshop at Baan ViengPing! Cheers Kate.


Wat Papao thinks about 'Their Future '

"Wat Papao" thinks about their future!

On Wednesday we went to "Wat Papao-School" where we did a workshop with the theme 'To Us in the Future' for over a hundred kids divided into three different classes. Firstly we did the youngest class which contained children from the age of 3-6 year olds! The lesson was based on getting the children to think about themselves in the future. The kids got pre-made "scratch painting" cards and a stick, to draw themselves in the future in an occupation they would like to one day be. Most of them saw themselves as pilots, swordsman or in some other crazy occupations. We showed each child the English and Thai spelling of the occupation that they have drawn for themselves. I think the kids really enjoyed using the new artistic media! The workshop with the middle class with children from age 7-12years old and the older class of 13-16years old was to get the children thinking about conceivable short term goals they can create for the future. The children wrote about the things they would like to accomplish and how they will do it on a postcard. Afterwards they got a "scratch-painting" card to decorate their postcards with a representation of their goals on the front. We will "stamp" them with a special CCT stamp and deliver them back to the students in one month. So they can check, if they were successful. In my opinion, the lessons at "Wat Papao-School" was very successful, because it is important to get children thinking about their future and we achieved that aim in a easy, artistic and interesting way. Stefanie


Baan Piranan Yellow Workshop

On Friday morning Amp, Kristy, Stefanie, Aimee and I all headed over for our weekly art session in Baan Piranan. Well this was my second time to Baan Piranan and much more of a success then last week, as the kids seemed in much better form and not as tired. This was Stefanie's first time to Baan Piranan and I'm sure she was unsure of what to expect or how she would feel upon arrival as Aimee and I were last week. But she settled in with ease and seemed to really enjoy it. We focused on the colour yellow this week, and ensured we had plenty of items that were yellow. We started with potato stamping of various things that are yellow, for example a stamp of a lemon.Wichai really enjoyed this and was very good at doing the stamps, and also enjoyed the texture of the corn and ended up using it to paint with, which was very interesting and so nice to see. Nong Mai was more interested in the musical instruments and the yellow rose we used for him to smell and we also tickled him with it and let him shake it with a bell on it for one of his favourite thing music and noise. Both Wichai and Nong Mai watched a clip from fantasia containing lots of yellow, Which they both enjoyed with Nong Mai in particular enjoying the music. Also something that was wonderful to see was Nong Mai being able to grip with both hands his squeaky duck, a large ball with a bell inside and the tambourine which he also shook a lot, this was so rewarding to see and brought a smile to my face. Joop Jang is getting more alert and seemed to enjoy the attention she was getting and the feel of the rose on her skin. She also listened to some soft music and feel asleep soon afterwards. We meet with Don a wonderful man who helps run Baan Pirinan and raises a lot of awareness and money to support Baan Piranan. He told us lots of information on the whole project and how each child came to Baan Piranan, this in itself was heartbreaking to hear and was upsetting for us all. But the good thing is these kids are now safe and looked after so well and it gives you hope for there future. I'm looking forward to this weeks session already. Kate


Hope Home - Potato-stamp Workshop

The Potato-stamp workshop in Hope Home on Thursday, was my first workshop as a Volunteer at CCT. It was also my first time to make Patato-stamps with kids and a complete new experience to do art with disabled children. So everything was new and exiting for me. Before we started the workshop, the kids used different musical instruments. It was a good method to "break the ice" and get the attention of the kids. Its also good for auditory learning and it seems to be a lot of fun for the kids. Pat for example, really enjoyed it to play a guitar by his feet, made of a tissue box and simple rubber bands. After this nice Jam Session, the kids started to paint with the Potato-stamps in shapes of a star, moon and a sun. They stamped with yellow color on dark blue paper, because the theme of the paint was "night scene". I learnt a lot about how to help the kids of Hope Home to express themself in a artistic way. We worked with special art tools like extended paint-brushs and paint-rolls. We also prepared the Potato-stamps with long extenders to make it easier for the kids to reach the paper. It was mounted on a board. I held it in front of the child I was working with Boomrat. I noticed he is quite a good artist and he created some very good paintings. In general, there are many talented children in Hope Home and I look forward to working with these kids again. Greetings from Chiang Mai! Steffi


Baan Piranan Red Workshop

After stocking up on pastels, musical instruments, and toys of all shapes and sizes, on Friday Kaya, Kristy, Amp, Ben, Kate and I rode out to Baan Piranan. Riding out to Baan Piranan I felt rather apprehensive. It was my first time going to the home and I didn’t know quite what to expect. Earlier in the week, Kristy, who has been here for about three months already, had warned both Kate and I that on her first visit to Baan Piranan she felt rather choked up. As much as I went over the activities and the lesson we had planned(this week was all about red), I also felt that I couldn’t fully prepare myself for what lay ahead of me. However, upon arriving at the house, I realized that many of my fears were lay to rest.

Though clearly debilitated by their C.P., the children at Baan Piranan are not all that different from children considered (and I use this word wincingly) “normal”. Nong Mai, like every child I know, loves music, especially when it’s loud! He began drumming on his desk the moment we walked in. He spent much of the lesson trying to make noises with keyboards and tambourines and squeaking ducks. However, as much as he loved these noises and tried with all his might to mimic Kaya and I as we pressed keyboard buttons or easily squeezed the squeaking duck, his body and his disease often prevented him from performing these actions that seem so basic to us. But Nong Mai is different than many children I know. When he did not get exactly what he wanted, when the duck just wouldn’t squeak in his hands and his fingers just couldn’t press hard enough on the keyboard to make a noise, he did not break into hysterics or shed buckets of tears – he tried harder. You can tell just by watching his eyes that he is trying. All of the deformities in the world couldn’t be as heartbreaking as the silence that comes when Nong Mai can’t squeeze that duck hard enough. Like the popular Thai phrase, these children are same, same, but heartbreakingly different. I can only hope that in the three months I have here, Baan Piranan will become louder and louder each week! Cheers from Chiang Mai- Aimee

Baan ViengPing Mural Project

Well the mural is offically finished and toke longer then we thought but was most certainly worth it. It really does look amazing, and now everywhere else wants one too I'm kidding but not really :). Anyways in preperation for the Mural Friday afternoon we mixed up the 23 colours of paint we basically just mixed up various colours to achieve the colours from the computer image as best we could. Then on Saturday morning Sara, Kristy, Amp, Kya, Aimee and I all headed over to Baan ViengPing Orphanage to paint the mural with the older girls. We all had to paint the top of the mural on stools as it was too high up for the girls to paint. We also set up an art center for the younger girls to colour in images taken from the mural and to draw pictures so we could keep them occupied and also to include them in the process.

We had groups of 5-6 girls at one time doing the painting as this was all we could fit in along with ourselves. We were there for a long time I think we finished up around 6-30pm but the mural looks great and the girls did really well and seemed to have really enjoyed it and liked having us around as a distraction. All in all it was a sucess and we are looking forward to working with these girls again on some more exciting new projects. Kate


Baan Viengping Mural Project

This week we are working on a Mural project which is exciting and will be me and Aimee's first project. The mural will be for the children at Baan ViengPing Orphanage. This morning Kristy, Amp, Aimee and I went over to prep the wall for the Mural painting which will be taking place on Saturday. This will be involving the teenagers ranging in age from 12-17years old. We managed to get the wall washed and the measurements of the mural drawn in good time. We then proceeded to paint the mural space white in preperation for the fun we will all be having Im sure on Saturday morning. Kate