Chiang Mai, as a whole, has done well in managing COVID-19 with 42 confirmed cases reported, and we see restrictions slightly lifting this month. The pandemic occurred during the annual Thai new year called Songkhran, and everyone honored the government’s requests to stay at home and not go out to celebrate. This respect of authority is another positive aspect of the Thai culture.
Our language teacher has led her community in making hundreds of meals to hand out in her village. We had the opportunity to provide cash and a bit of elbow grease. We were blessed to observe the Buddhist people from the temple, the local school leadership, and the government come together.
EMM teammates in another country put together care packages for their Muslim neighbors. We joined their efforts by donating some money, and collectively, our families provided 40 large bundles of food. The recipients sent a very authentic “thank you” video to us all as they opened up their packages of rice, oil, sugar, noodles, spice, and other items.
By overlaying these positive stories on top of the difficult stories, we hold the pain of life in one hand and the hope of life in the other. We realize that the greater the suffering, the greater the potential for hope. And most importantly, we realize that looking beyond ourselves to others is a choice we can always make.
*Last names omitted due to sensitivity concerns.