Our foundation's co-founder and director, Fr. Joe Maier, turned 75 last week. And while he might have preferred a low-key simple birthday, we found great cause to celebrate. Hundreds of Mercy staff, neighbors, friends, and, of course, all our Mercy children took part in the festivities. True to spirit, Fr. Joe made sure the celebration was really about our children. Ice cream was served from a giant bucket, and every kid who wanted a second or third cone was not denied. Top photo: Fr. Joe receives a gift of a red rose from Nong Fon, a blind Mercy girl, with co-founder Sister Maria beside her. Below, ice cream and dance.
Today we held a celebration in honor of all the men and women who help make our neighborhood in the slums safer, more beautiful, more joyous, and more welcoming. In attendance: all our community leaders and health workers, our women’s group and credit union members, senior Port Authority personnel, our partner NGOs, local fire brigades, police and army personnel, and hundreds of friends and neighbors in the slums. We presented certificates of honor to all our local heroes, danced, feasted, and most importantly, provided balloons galore and plenty of ice cream to the neighborhood children.
Last week our 2,500 kindergarten students enjoyed a full day of activities dedicated the joy of science. Our children discovered what life looks like under a magnifying glass and how to blow bubbles. Plus other super fun activities!
Israeli Ambassador to Thailand HE Simon Roded and friends at the Israeli consulate gave honor to our Mercy Centre yesterday, sponsoring a private concert for our Janusz Korczak students, our kindergarten students, and Mercy staff.
In performance: Amir Gwirtzman, jazz artist, multi-reedist (flutes, saxophones, and ram’s horn!) played the most incredible, most rocking version of the Thai Elephant Song we’ve ever heard, bringing all our children to their feet. On other songs, Amir played on three reeds at once! Our children adored the joyous sounds!
Yesterday was a gorgeous (but sweltering) day at Mercy. It was gorgeous because we invited hundreds of of our elderly neighbors in the slums and the Monks from our local Wat Saphan Temple. It was sweltering because, well, Bangkok is always at the peak of its heat this time of year. Our elders danced to beautiful old Thai songs; the Monks blessed our guests and staff; and a fabulous feast followed. The entire day was a reminder how blessed we are at Mercy to have so many caring friends and kind neighbors. Wishing all our friends a happy and safe Songkran holiday.
Photos: b&w: Yoonki Kim; color, Tony Stokes.
There was so much joyous energy yesterday at Mercy... today we can still feel the vibrations.
Yesterday was Sports Day at our Mercy Kindergartens. Over 3,000 students, ages three to seven, representing the current enrollment of our 23 slum kindergartens, competed in such skilled contests as Musical Chairs, Tug of Wars, and Bean Bag Tosses.
Each school was divided into two competing teams, and each team had its own cheer leading squad, with percussion accompaniment, to inspire athletes to victory. The drum beats. The chants. The cheers. There was no shortage of hyper-fun energy in the air.
And every student came home a winner, earning a victory ribbon and a scoop of ice cream!