"Under the Sea" with Baan Vienping (part two)

Yesterday, myself, Amp, Emma, Wad, Aimee and Stefanie went to Baan Vienping to conduct our second workshop with the theme "Under the Sea." The first time the CAP team went, we worked with the youngest group of kids aged 2-4. They enjoyed the workshop so much we decided to do it again with the slightly older group, aged 4-6. The workshop was lead the same way, with five stations each displaying the theme "Under the Sea." Using this theme, the kids engaged in workshops that incorporated art, tactile learning, memory games, auditory learning and computer visual aids. All workshops were lead the same as last time with the one difference of the movie. This time, instead of "Finding Nemo" we showed a clip from "The Little Mermaid" with Sabastian singing "Under the Sea" in thai, how appropriate!

The older group of kids really enjoyed the workshop. There was a greater number of them, 30 in total and only 6 of us. The kids would eagerly run from one workshop to the next and sometimes they would run back to a station they really liked and wanted to do again. It was sometimes challenging keeping track of all of them but seeing their enthusiam and excitement was well worth the chaos. I lead the "The Little Mermaid" station. The kids loved singing along and I encougaged dancing to "Under the Sea." Every station was a success and the kids seemed to love the different projects andinteracting with us and each other.
Cheers! Christa


Art Making Music

The children of Hope Home have many different abilities - some like to use their feet and others do as much as they can with their hands.

In this workshop Art Making Music the children were encouraged to explore the different textures of beads, rice and beans and to experiment with the different sounds they could make, turning them into musical shakers fashioned from plastic bottles and drinks cans. Hearing the pitter patter of rice being sprinkled sounded like rain and the children looked content as they munched and scrunched the different kinds of beans with their hands – thinking, feeling, seeing, touching... One little boy much preferred to use his feet, digging them deeply into a basin filled full of dried rice, wriggling his toes in-between. Another boy appeared to love overflowing his plastic bottle shaker with rice, beads and beans, repeatedly pouring them onto the floor – healthy child development!!!

Each child engaged in making their art instrument in their own special way and they all seemed to enjoy the different sounds they could make - the rattle of rice in a tin can or the sound of beads bouncing in bottles. Music therapy is definitely appreciated…


Grannies Gone Wild!

This past week we worked with a new organization, Grandma Cares. Grandma Cares is an organization that provides the children of Northern Thailand who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS the chance to lead healthy and successful lives. Many of the children who's parents have passed away have been left in the care of their Grandmothers. Grandma Cares raises necessary funds for the children and their families in order to provide the kids with nutritious meals, send them to school and educational camps, buy school uniforms and supplies, and give quality of life and life skills training.

We met the people of Grandma Cares at the Night Safari after they had spent a day exploring animals and learning about wildlife. In the workshop, we recreated the Safari animals that the kids had seen that day by making the animals out of differing materials and creating a collage. Fabric, magazines, buttons, wool, string, and crepe paper were all used to cover the cut-outs of zebras, elephants, and rhinoceroses. The concept of the workshop was to end the day with some creative fun and relive everyone's safari experience while learning the names and habitats of the animals.

It was a lot of fun working with the kids and watching their creativity with collage and different materials. We presented several examples of what they could do with the material provided but many of them branched out and created inventive designs and patterns for their safari scene. I had just as much fun creating the Safari scene as they did! One of the boys created an elephant jungle scene where he depicted himself riding on the back of the elephant. He was very proud of his artwork. There were a variety of scenes but all came out beautifully. Most importantly there were a lot of smiles and everyone seemed to enjoy the project! ~Christa


Thai Freedom House - Paints their Mural

After we did the 'Brainstorming' session with the kids and young adults from Thai Freedom House, we combined the information and imaginations of the kids, concentrating on the four topics. With Amps great ability in using Photoshop, we came up with a very nice design which contains all the things the kids drew and spoke about. Equipped with paintbrushes, paint, aprons and other materials, we went to Thai Freedom House on Tuesday evening. At first, we drew the outlines of the mural. This was'nt easy, because the wall was very uneven and the sun burned merciless.
The students came at 6 o' clock to Thai Freedom House. We separated them in three groups for a "rotation-system", because the space is not big enough for so many people to paint a mural. The kids at station 1 covered the wall in the courtyard with "freestyle-chalk-art". At station 2,we gave the students images of the mural-design, to colour with crayons. Station 3 was the actual highlight. All of the younger and older artists really enjoyed painting the mural. The students were so quiet and concentrated really well during their painting. After a full rotation, everyone was happy and proud to see such a great result. The next day Kate, Aimee and I went to Thai Freedom House again to complete the mural. It was a very hot day and even though the mural was almost done, it took ages. After another day in the merciless heat, we finished the work. The final result is absolutely amazing and every person who came around the corner was viewing and commenting on the wall.
Thats what we wanted to achieve... to raise awareness for Thai Freedom House and Free Bird Cafe and create a beautiful "eye catching mural". Stefanie


Thai Freedom House 'Brainstorms'

Hi everyone, On Friday evening we all headed over to Thai Freedom House to do a 'Brainstorming' session with the kids and young adults that attend Freedom House. We decided to touch of four different topics:
1) Thai Freedom House- What does the thai freedom house mean to you?
2) Home- What does your ideal home look like?
3) Dreams- What kind of dreams/wishes do you have for the future?
4) Happiness- What makes you happy?

We got everyone to sit down and firstly discuss each topic and contribute their thoughts and feelings on them, then they started to draw some images on each topic. I found the younger children were a lot less shy and self conscious of their drawing and they just jumped right in and started drawing while the young adults were more self conscious at first but they soon got stuck in after some encouragement and i think really enjoyed the Brainstorming session. Everyone came up with some great images and ideas for the mural so now we just need to put it all together to create an image for the wall.

This will be our main project for the week and today we will be preparing the wall for the actual painting of the mural which will be taking place with everyone from Thai freedom house tomorrow evening. Ill be keeping you up to date with the fun ahead and the how the mural painting goes. Kate


Baan Piranan: Uncaged!

Following our Under the Sea lesson from last Friday, today CCT and Baan Piranan took a trip to the Chiang Mai Zoo and Aquarium. Zoos generally elicit a very mixed reaction in me. While I love that these strange and beautiful creatures become so accessible, the condition and care given to the animals within concrete walls often turns my stomach. The beauty of white Bengal tigers and stories-tall giraffes is dwarfed when placed behind metal bars.

Never has this feeling become more apparent than today, being in this space with Joop Jang, Witchai, and Nong Mai. I think there is hardly a person in this whole world that would relate to these creatures more than these three children. While the zebras and sharks and clown fish have very visible cages, Joop Jang, Witchai, and Nong Mai’s cage is nearly as visible.

The lions live in concrete walls while the children of Baan Piranan live with concrete bones and the cages formed by their own physical abilities. Like the caged lions, the “kings” of the jungle, our Baan Piranan beauties face a life within the confines of stiff bodies. As the beauty of tigers is dwarfed behind metal bars, perhaps the beauty of Witchai, Nong Mai, and Joop Jang becomes dwarfed within the metal curves of their wheelchairs, or so it seemed by the stares awarded to us at the zoo today.

Yet, spend even an ounce of your life with these children and no wheelchair or deformity could hide how beautiful they truly are. The sound created when our Nong Mai, face glowing blue from the light of the aquarium walls, breaks into laughter would nearly make you cry. When the mouth of our Witchai, whose careful eyes followed the movements of the fish around him, opens into that perfectly crooked smile, your mouth is forced to follow. And when little Joop Jang, believed to be both blind and deaf, jumps to the sharp sound of the closing van door, your heart jumps for her too.

Contrary to the stares we were given today, the children of Baan Piranan are nothing like the animals that surrounded us. Unlike Nong Mai, Witchai, and Joop Jang, those animals are truly stuck, fully confined to the life they have been handed. This may have once been the destiny that the Baan Piranan children faced, but it is no longer. Even in the four short weeks that I have been working with Baan Piranan, growth can be seen. With physical therapy, massage therapy, and art lessons, with each and every week these kids are growing stronger, moving new muscles, bending limbs once unbendable. These kids are destroying every cage that has been cruelly given them and that makes them more beautiful and more powerful than any creature in the world!

Cheers from Chiang Mai - Aimee.

Swim with Hope Home!

On October 1st, the CAP-Crew headed out to Hope Home, to transport
the kids "under the sea"! As we arrived there, they received us with smiling faces and the expectation to do art and make music. But this day the lesson was different. At first, we tried a new artistic media with them. We gave them a prepared paper (with "fish-stickers" on it!) and a lot of spray-bottles (it contained paint in different colors like blue, green, orange, red...). Paradon really enjoyed it to flood his paper with paint and after this, he sprayed P'Ben and covered him. This was a very funny situation:-)! Sassy was very good in choosing colors and created a beautiful painting. Also Boomrot was surprised of the great effect of the spray-bottles and shot his paper like a little cowboy. After we pulled off the fish-stickers, some very nice "under the sea" paintings appeared. The next thing we did, was to play "catch the fish". It was impressive to see, how Phil caught a fish with a fishing-rod held with his foot. Sassy swung her fishing-rod very enthusiasticly and could catch some fish as well. Afterwards we surprised them with a scene of "Arielle the mermaid" in a Thai version. We watched it approximately eight times and especially Boomrot wanted to watch it again and again. So the kids definitely had a lot of fun "under the sea" and we are thinking about, where we will transport them next!