a group photo.
The Cobra Gold joint military exercises have become an
annual event in Thailand, with many troops arriving from the US to learn new
skills and share knowledge with their Thai counterparts.
Whilst the troops are kept busy with their official
duties, they also find time to perform community service at social projects
in and around Pattaya.
This year three projects under the management of the
Father Ray Foundation were selected by COMREL, the community relations
office of Cobra Gold: Pattaya School for the Blind, Redemptorist Vocational
School for People with Disabilities and the Father Ray Children’s Home.
At the Father Ray Children’s Home the task was to paint
the exterior wall of the complex, all three hundred meters in length.
However the early rains meant that the painting had to cease. A little bit
of rain was not going to harm the Marines, but to continue to paint would be
a waste of time, so instead the troops moved indoors to give the offices a
much needed lick of paint.
After a long day’s work the Americans enjoyed a taste of
home, with a meal of hot-dogs and hamburgers, before being entertained by
the children who performed a selection of Thai traditional dances, which was
followed by the young boys giving an exhibition of Muay Thai.
The following day the Marines split into two groups, with
one traveling over to Naklua and the School for the Blind to paint the
fencing around the swimming pool.
The third group of Marines spent the day hosting an
English camp for the students with disabilities, allowing the students to
learn about new cultures, life in the US and what it is like to be a Marine.
Whilst at the vocational school the Marines were given
the chance to experience what it is like to live with a disability. Trying
to get from A to B in a wheelchair was difficult, and attempting to play
wheelchair basketball was not as easy as it looks.
More information on the Father Ray Foundation can be
found at www.fr-ray.org or email
children were impressed with this Marine’s musical skills.
Suppachai, director of the Children’s Home, thanks Chaplain Bailey for
organizing the volunteers.
now, but once the rain started
the Marines moved indoors to paint the offices.
Preparing the fencing at the School for the Blind.
the bigger Marines poses with one of the Home’s smallest boys.
easy as it looks.
female Marines were too strong for the local boys.