Another inspiring Koh Samui adventure

For the landlocked children living at Sarnelli House getting the opportunity to see more of their country and to visit the sea is only a dream for many of them.  In May this year 15 children from Sarnelli House travelled to Koh Samui and that dream came true. For 1 week they were inspired, they did things they had never done and they pushed themselves out of their comfort zone. They saw parts of their beautiful country they would never have had the opportunity to see and met young Thai people working for good money in the hospitality industry.  12 children including Lyn and Bang from Nazareth House, Dong 1 and Dtong2 from Our Lady Home of Refuge Viengkhuk, Boy and Shane from St Patrick’s Home, Choke and Teep from the Jan and Oscar House and  Dtay, Off, Joi Joi and Bee from Sarnelli House were the 12 lucky children chosen for this year’s holidays. 4 other teenagers also accompanied the troupe to Koh Samui as they are starting one term of work experience with the Amari Hotel.  They are Tanee and Palm from the Jan and Oscar House, Tdon from St Patrick’s and Jum from Nazareth House and they will gain experience in accounting, communications and engineering.

Boy and the airport
 Christoph and the work experience kids
 At the sea
seaside activities

Thanks to the generosity of sponsors like Stephanie Hartigan in The Netherlands the kids were able to fly to Koh Samui on the way there, and on the way home go via a mix of flights and an overnight train. For Boy, from St Patrick’s who has graduated from senior high school at age 20 this year and has done so battling a form of autism, his biggest highlight of the trip was Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Even before he left for Koh Samui he could recite how many floors and gates are at the airport and how many planes fly in and out in a day. For some other kids the highlight was sleeping in an aircondtioned room snuggled into a duvet. The boys loved the jet ski rides and the girls were a bit starstruck when they were taken for a facial one afternoon. One thing that will be remembered with shivers and told with drama will be the rough 1 and a half hour boat ride back from snorkeling on an island, where almost everyone on the boat was sick the whole way as the sea was so high and choppy. Being from the country and never having been in a boat before the kids were unprepared for the effects. Hitting dry land they looked a bedraggled sight but it didn’t take them long to find their appetite and that evening a Thai seafood dinner was the right antidote. The safari park is always a safe bet with children and this year again they enjoyed the elephant, crocodile, monkey and bird shows. Palm and Tanee even volunteered to ride the elephants in the show. The bowling tournament also is a big crowd pleaser and once they get the idea there is no stopping and the competitive spirit runs high.

riding the elephant
Palm and his friend
experiencing a facial
all the gang

Overall it was a huge success and we would like to thank all the sponsors for their generosity in making the kids feel welcome and cared for. Our particular thanks goes to Christoph Leonard General Manager of the Amari Palm Reef Hotel in Koh Samui who has made this trip happen every year for the last 3 years and whose organization skills and generosity are unsurpassable.

Kate Introna