Volunteer Story: Volunteer Card Boss Ryan Volunteers in Thailand + Burma
Our boss here at Volunteer Card, Ryan, and his family have been volunteering in Thailand and Burma for the past few weeks. True to form, Ryan’s got his hands in a ton of different projects, but his main goal is to help organize initiatives to rescue girls from the massive sex slave industry in southeast Asia. We’re super proud of him! He’s been blogging, and here are some excerpts from his time so far. Look for more to come.
The Burma Thailand border is one of the most picturesque places on earth. The mountains, rivers gullies, trees and cliffs paint and exotic, rare and deeply beautiful landscape.
Nestled into these mountains are burnt homes, landmines, refugee camps, displaced people, shattered lives the other remains of war and destruction.
The beauty of the creation stands in stark contrast to the evil destruction of man.
The Burmese army has a habit of coming into a village, raping the woman, making the little boys child soldiers, burning the homes and then setting land mines around the burnt homes to prevent anyone from returning. These displaced people are streamed across the Burma Thailand border.
We visited an official refugee camp, it was called a camp, but really it was more like a city. 50,000+ refugees altogether and this was just one of 9 official camps, and countless unofficial refugee village
Then we visited the KT orphanage for refugee children. The kids would run to meet you with huge-smiley-hugs. (just like my son Colin would run to meet me, except they just met me an hour ago.)
We made the 7 hours drive from Chaing Mai, Thailand to a village near the Thailand/Burma border. Refugee camps line the border and are filled with people fleeing the conflict in Burma.
It only takes a few minutes to realize that something is different here. There is a seriousness to everyone you talk to around here. It is the seriousness that I have only encountered in people who have been in conflict and crisis.
We found out there was shelling today only a 2 hour drive from where we are staying tonight.
This is real. That’s the only way I can put it.
Si Nang: A Day of Days
I’ve heard about the issue, read UN reports about Indonesia Sex Trade, even watched documentaries about this issue, but nothing could prepare me for what we were about to see.
We drove up to an entire village surrounded by high brick walls about 5 blocks long. There is a gate and a guard to get in. The village is called Si Nang.
Inside is an entire mini city of brothels large buildings with no windows and only one door. Each building was painted a bright cheery color for some sick reason.
Because inside was some of the heights of cruelty to the most vulnerable. We counted 35-40 buildings that lined up along the streets.
Each building had a bar and a cell tank where they line the girls up for their customers (aka: gutless perverts).
The mood was quiet and tense in the van. We were being watched, because they spotted our camera. We tried to film, but were promptly yelled at. The driver told us we had to get out of there. We may have been in slight danger, but it was nothing compared to the danger these girls experienced everyday. My jaw hurt the next day from clenching it so tightly for so long.
There were over 1,000 girls walled in this village and could not escape.
I’m not a weepy guy but the next day it just hit me while we were getting our kids ready. I had to excuse myself and hide in the bathroom because I could not stop the tears from coming. It will take a long time to fully process.