Way back in January I found some ridiculous cheap tickets online. Without thinking much, I clicked purchase and told my family we'd be coming home for the holidays. We could barely afford the tickets, and it meant that my daughter would miss a lot of school but something deep down told me we had to come home.
Life in Isaan is challenging to say that least, but what is more is that it is very insular and isolating. It's so easy to get caught up in the life there and just get by. We do not want to just get by. We want to create tangible and positive change in the area while at the same time providing an enriching upbringing for our daughter. To do this, we must be able to gain distance and reflect on our progress and failures. Being in Isaan, we just can't gain the same perspectives that we can while at home.
We've only been back a little over a week, but so much has happened. Our friend Michael, together with Arjan Dam and Boom's brother took two fighters to fight on Max. They have kept the gym running and the kids training. We're so grateful for the help and the support, but also proud that we have created meaningful relationships with others who are willing to help us. We were also able to teach a seminar at my original gym and talk to other kids about what we are doing.
Getting to really talk to people and share our journey with them has been incredibly enlightening and humbling to stay the least. When people ask what Boom and I are doing in Thailand, we do not simply say we are running a gym but instead tell them we are running a non-profit organization for disadvantagted children in Isaan; empowering families through Muay Thai. And in saying that, I myself become empowered and realize how truly amazing what we are doing is.
Thank you to all of our corporate sponsors and monthly donors for keeping this gym running. Special thanks to Fresh Belief, and Ajarn Mikey for taking care of the fighters and all of our animals!