Its strange seeing ourselves, a bit of our life and even our home on TV. Stranger still when walking down the street in a far corner of the city the next day some motorcycle taxi drivers call out, “Khun Mali, rue plao?” (Kashmira’s Thai name: “Mali, is that you?”) Later that day, while visiting the hospital for Elian’s one year check-up a nurse approached Kashmira and said with a smirk, “I saw you on T.V. yesterday, didn’t I?” This recognition resulted in even more than the usual amount of attention and interest in our two kids. By the time we went in to the doctor’s room the nurses had the show pulled up on their computer console and were watching it at the nurse’s station. When Iven was paying the doctor bill the pharmacist came out from the back and exclaimed, “I recognize your voice – I saw you on T.V. Yesterday.” The old woman that sells fruit in our alley approached Iven later that week and said, “I never knew you loved Thailand so much…thank you for loving my country.” A week or so later Iven was taking a neighbor to (a different) hospital and without any prompting they helped jump this neighbor to the front of the line, saving them close to three-hours in the waiting room! Really it is quite an honor to be chosen to be filmed.
The show about our family aired on TV on August 26, and since then we’ve received immensely positive feedback from both neighbors and random strangers alike! Needless to say, it has been very surprising how many people from different walks of life have watched the show. Our prayer is that in some small way Jesus might show through our lives (even through the producers edited out all mention of our faith) and also that some of what we suggested about how to relate to people on the streets might sink in and draw more and more “normal” Thais into appropriate, helping relationships with those in real need. If you’d like to watch the show, it has been posted on youtube in four different segments. Please follow the youtube links below, complete with a brief summary of each section to help those of you who don’t yet speak Thai follow along.
Meet the Hauptmans – Part 1 We introduce ourselves and our Thai names, sharing about how we live in a wonderful and interesting part of the city. We then take a tour of our local market that Kashmira visits weekly and whose vendors all know our kids. We discuss how wonderful Thai fruit is, especially mangoes – which our family eats daily. We invite the host into our home and explain how Kashmira had a love (and call) to Thailand first – then Iven fell in love with Kashmira, who told him that if he wanted to marry her he would need to move to Thailand too! So we came here together. When we first came it was hard because we spoke no Thai and could read Thai – felt like a child. We discuss learning Thai vs English.
Introducing some of our neighbors – Part 2 Iven talks with the host about our work with the homeless in our neighborhood while Kashmira and the kids “rest” in the heat of the day. Explains how usually the kids are involved in most work and relationships. Helping people to have better lives – people on the streets who have run grom hard situations or met with hard circumstances and broken relationships, recognizing that no one ever had the dream of being homeless when they are kids. Iven explains that we began this sort of work while still living in America. Everone loves our kids and they make it easy to get to know people, and we have never felt unsafe on our streeets. The most important thing for people is hope, without hope there is no reason to live, no matter if someone is rich or poor. Introducing the host to some of our neighbors, including one man (of many) who collects used plastic bottles to resell for a small story. P’ Noey tells the story of Awt, a neighbor who was very ill and who we helped to reveive needed medical care and journeyed with until his passing several months ago. Iven introduces P’ Wa (who many of you know and have prayed for, who we’ve known for 3 years and have walked with through much). Wa lost his family and former life the 2004 tsunami. Wa thanks Iven and family for helping him to have more hope and life.
Feeding the Homeless with Issarachon & Queen Mother Museum – Part 3 We our friends at Issarachon, a Thai foundation that has been serving our homeless neighbors for many years now. They are having a special feeding time to celebrate the first birthday of a relative of their board member. Along with Ajarn Natii from Issarachon we agree together that taking time to form real relationships, which communicates value, is the most important way to help and serve people in hard places, like the homeless. We discuss how difficult it is for people who don’t have government ID cards. We meet Nuat, a neighbor we have known for about two years. The food is all gone now – host says it is good for him to see how people serve like this. Iven explains how important it is to see the value inside of people, no matter how dirty they might be on the outside, or what they look like. Queen Mother’s Museum We bring host to the museum park commemorating the original house of the queen mother and her life of service and sacrifice. Izayla meanwhile loves her sticky rice (khao nieow). We look at memorials and discuss what a wonderful example the queen mother (the mother of the King) was as a mother and leader.
Feeding Fish, Boat Ride, and Mother’s Day Activities – Part 4 We go to feed the fish at the river and explain how Kashmira spent much of her childhood in the ocean on a fishing boat her parents built in the driveway. This is one of the reasons we gave Izayla the middle name “Talae”, which is Thai for sea. We discuss how important the rivers and waterways are for Thai life. Then we take a boat together through a big rain storn and talk about the different festivals in Thailand that involve water, including the most well known such as Songran – national 3 day water fight that takes place in the heart of the hot season. On the way to the mother’s day festivities at Sanam Luang we meet a group of homeless people and after talking with them a while go and get them some food, but explain to the host that we almost never give people on the streets money since so many struggle with addictions and giving money will almost always go to the addiction of choice before necessary food or water. At Sanam Luang’s Mother’s day activities we express our gratitude at living in Thailand and sharing our lives with Thai people, to see even poor people caring for one another. The host asks how long we’re planning to stay here and we finish by telling the host that right now we have no plans to leave Thailand and Izayla and Iven give Kashmira a mother’s day card and Izayla says, “Suk san Wan Mae” or “Happy Mother’s Day” in Thai.