Monday, February 25, 2008

Help us to Build a Bridge!

Building Bridges

As regular readers of our blog have hopefully seen, one of the purposes of our trip has been to make new friends, learn about different cultures and to build bridges between people around the world. We have taken pictures and written about our experiences to share this with others. For the next phase of our trip we are going to help build an actual bridge to bring people together and we hope that you, our readers, will help as well.

A friend of our alternative education guru friend Jerry Mintz is running a school and shelter known as Whispering Seed in Thailand for orphans and refugees from the troubles in Myanmar just a couple kilometers from the border, near Three Pagodas Pass. It is a very rudimentary place, with power only occasionally from a generator, bathing is in the stream, and they are building houses from natural components. They have a farm which they must cross a stream to get to, and this stream turns into a non-crossable torrent during the rainy season. That is where the bridge comes in. Jim Connors and his partner Nao who run Whispering Seed have obtained some international help from architects, engineers and builders to design a bridge so that they can get to their land during the rainy season. The design is done and the work has begun, but they need help to finish by the rainy season and not lose the work they have completed.

Whispering Seed is a non profit organization and you can learn about the work they do and help donate to get materials and tools to finish the bridge at . We hope that if you have enjoyed the blog that you will consider donating some money to help get the bridge built. There is an easy way to donate online at their website. We have already contacted our new Thai friends at to come and help us with the bridge and they have responded enthusiastically. They are planning on road tripping up to work with us the first weekend in March, and those that can’t ride are donating money.

Currently Whispering Seed is hosting two families with children fulltime, and teaching an additional dozen or so during the week. There are two refugee camps between them and the border so it is a tenuous place to be, to say the least. Of course, we will take pictures and give our accounts of the place once we get there so that donors can see the results of their effort.

We need to build a bridge about 80 meters long out of wood with nothing but hand tools and human labor. Apparently there is an electric drill which can be used with a generator. It makes me think of building the old covered bridges in New England!

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