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A friendship that began an incredible journey….

February 26, 2013

I love the tale of the Lord of the Rings which I first read as a young adult whilst travelling in south-east Asia. Tolkein has such a beautiful way of reminding us how important love, friendship, loyalty and journey are – the elements that bring true substance and meaning to our lives.

This afternoon I spent an hour skyping with a dear friend of mine who lives in a small town in North-East Thailand called Payak. Hannah and I begun a friendship via email after my husband connected with her and her family in 2002 on a trip he made with his father. We met over a year later when I spent a week with her community in Thailand and it felt as though we had been friends our whole lives. I was moved by Hannah’s love for the children in her community and the way she embraced those who needed her help despite her own limited means at the time

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Samuel’s House

Our friendship saw us embark on an exciting venture together in 2006 when we partnered in founding Samuel’s House, a home for displaced children. Together with another amazing couple, we were able to see Hannah’s vision for providing a loving, family run home for abandoned kids realised. The journey has brought us, and many friends and family who have come on board, immeasurable joy and we always love a chance to spend a week with our ‘Thai family’.

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The Mushroom Project 

On our last visit in 2011, we discovered that Hannah and Nehamee had started a small mushroom business which was really doing well. I can’t recall exactly when Hannah and I first discussed the concept, but essentially we are now working together on a project called The Mushroom Project (30 second clip here) which empowers women in the region of Isaan to replicate her mushroom business. Isaan is one of the poorer areas of Thailand and is not frequented by tourists. Most people subsist on rice farming. The project incorporates a formalised micro-loan, business mentoring and gives an opportunity for women to add an additional stream of income to the family budget. Our first project started in April 2012 and is now completed with the funds rolled into Project #2. Today Hannah and I discussed a candidate for Project #3  who lives near the proprietor of Project #1 and has started learning the business from her which is super exciting as it incorporates the concept of paying it forward for the participants.

Han promo

I am so thankful to have begun this friendship with Hannah through a simple email. I have loved being a part of these life-giving projects and I wanted to share this story with you because it always makes me think “Who am I going to meet next and what exciting adventures await us….?” Building friendships is such a valuable investment in life – they can open doors you never expected, not only for you but for others whom you can also bless in the process.

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