By Simone Kaho
As I stay longer at Eco-Logic I come to understand why the restaurant feels like a living room. It is the way it is treated by the people who work there. On any day it could be Gun, the general manager, or Ingrid the owner or the Yao massage lady or one of the teachers sitting behind the front desk. Ingrid and Gun laugh and tease each other the day I accidentally take the massage booking folder down to my room and they can’t find it.
Ingrid treats her staff like friends. They serve food and wipe the tables with the care as if it were their home.
Gun was formerly a nurse who came to spend some time at TCDF as a Nanny. She now manages Eco Logic and plays an important role in TCDF assessing requests for assistance and liaising with Thai services. She comes from the North of Thailand as do many of the children. ‘I see them as children from where I am from’ she says. Gun comes to yoga with us in the afternoon, sometimes her son visits, a lightening streak of energy. At the same time as managing and mothering she is studying towards a management qualification. When Izzy asks for ice for her ankle Gun sits with her, manipulating and massaging it - ‘You have magic hands’ says Izzy ‘that genuinely feels so much better’.
Pee Pa the teacher at the special needs school is by trade a graphic designer. Initially he came on as a volunteer art teacher and stayed to become a teacher full time, living on the premesis. He has taught each child in the band how to play their instrument and runs the school as if it was a big family. ‘He doesn’t have a wife does he’, the girls muse one night ‘you can tell he is totally dedicated to the children’.
Lam the bartender is a constant smiling presence. He gave us a tour of Eco Logic and a Thai lesson the first day we arrived. He is ever encouraging as we try to practice. ‘Oh you’re getting good’ he says again as I say ‘Sa wa dee kha’ to him. He offers to take us to the waterfall on his day off, and Pe Pong plans to do a picnic lunch. Only the weather prevents us.
Given I’ve already had a room upgrade, I feel completely spoiled by the care that goes into the maintenance of my room. Pe Pui even folds my clothes, which have been left in a haphazard trail between the bathroom and bed when I make my way speedily from yoga to breakfast.
It is lovely to see, Thai people working at every level in this organisation, influencing the shape of the charity, and opportunities for the kids to grow into employment here.
This is not an ex-pat organisation sitting lightly atop a Thai community, this is a real integrated community where there is respect and reciprocity. A charity and business run by people who are genuinely growing who have opened up for us volunteers to become a part of it.
More information on Eco-Logic, Retreat for Charity and the yoga arrangement we offer can be found here.
With your stay you will support the projects of the Thai Child Development Foundation directly.
DO GOOD, FEEL GOOD!