December 8-10 2012
The Rotary Club of Koh Samui was delighted to see the return of ‘their orphans’ from the Mercy Centre in Klong Toey, Bangkok. We had all missed these charming children in 2011, due to the devastating floods in Bangkok, so we were eager to greet them once again for their 8th visit in 9 years.
36 children and 4 chaperones left Bangkok late on Friday 7th December in three minibuses, and travelled overnight to arrive at Donsak by 7am on Saturday 8th December, beating the welcome committee, which arrived at 7.30 am, in the shape of Rotarians Christoph Leonhard and Alan Robson. Then they all boarded the 9am ferry to be greeted in Koh Samui by President Adele Smith, and Rotarian Wally Smith, who then escorted the party to their venue in the south of the island, Samui Orchid Resort, located next to the Tiger Zoo.
After checking in, the party then journeyed on to New Star in Chaweng Noi, where they were greeted by GM, Michael Biedermann who escorted them to the restaurant where lunch was laid out. The youngsters were soon tucking into a variety of Thai and Western dishes, looked after by the New Star staff.
After a delightful ‘thank you’ to Michael and his staff, the party returned to Samui Orchid, where the children encountered a group of ‘Big Bikers’ from Samui Pirates and Dark Knights, who offered to take them for rides in the vicinity. The children spent the rest of the afternoon splashing in the pool. They had to be enticed out of there with promises of a Christmas party to come!
The children reassembled in their party clothes and set off for Lamai, and a warm welcome to Samui Shamrock, where their host, Danny Kelly, Manager David Long and their staff awaited them. For this occasion, David doubled as DJ, and the group was soon regaled by ‘Gangam Style’ music and hilarious videos, as they tucked into a buffet meal. After the meal, the children delighted the onlookers with some dance routines, with a group of boys showing off their skills as break dancers, while the girls were more elegant in their routine! Then the Gangam music started up again, with the rest of the children swarming onto the stage to join in!! When their energy finally started to flag, P Adele joined them, and thanked Samui Shamrock for their generous hospitality. While she was speaking, a familiar figure was spotted entering the stage with his helper and a large sack! Father Christmas was enthusiastically greeted as he dispensed gifts to all the children, before departing with a cheery wave. The exhausted youngsters were finally escorted back to their minibuses to return to the Resort and their beds!
The next morning found the party at Namuang Safari Park where they were able to wander among the animals before enjoying the spectacles of Elephant, Monkey, Crocodile, Bird and Snake shows, sponsored by their hosts. They then returned to their resort, clutching picnic boxes supplied by Zazen Resort and Spa. They were able to enjoy their lunch by in their favourite spot by the swimming pool! The afternoon fun in the pool was enhanced by some Rotary ‘Friends’ who joined them in the pool. Again, they had to be dragged out of the pool to prepare for their next outing to Bubbas in Chaweng Beach Road, where their host, Nigel Mills, greeted them. A BBQ and grill supper was followed by entertainment from Todd Lavalle, who had flown down from Bangkok especially for the occasion. This ‘children’s favourite’ kept his audience enthralled with his lively show. But before leaving, a group of the children demonstrated their impressive Tae Kwon Do skills, before heading back to Orchid Resort and their beds!
The final day of the holiday was spent at Orchid Resort, where GM Lubosh Barta and staff from Four Seasons Resort, along with Lorraine Clark kept the children occupied with an art competition and beach games, rounded off with lunch provided by Four Seasons. The day was rounded off by every child receiving a prize for their art work in the shape of a ‘Kid’s Weekend T-shirt’. ‘House Moms’ from the Mercy Centre were then presented with baskets packed with goodies, courtesy of Four Seasons, and all four chaperones, and leader Khun Ratana, along with a member of Four Seasons were all presented with their Kid’s Weekend T shirts.
All too soon, it was time to ‘say goodbye’. But before they left, the Mercy Centre party said ‘thank you’ to Rotarians present with a gift and their own touching way of giving thanks. They were waved off their sad hosts to begin their long journey home.
THE ROTARY CLUB OF KOH SAMUI WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL SPONSORS WHO HELPED MAKE THIS WEEKEND SUCH A SUCCESS, WITH MEALS, OUTINGS, CHRISTMAS GIFTS AND HELP WITH TRAVEL COSTS.