AA And Thailand TSUANMI
Thailand in December
is a good month to visit, great weather the holiday mood is in
full swing, and so many tourists are here from all over the world.
Most of the tourists including the Americans prefer the south
east area of phukett a bit more expensive then other areas, but
who cares? It's still a cheaper deal than America and especially
Europe, with the dollar so weak at this time. There is just so
much to see and do, from beach bumming, snorkeling touring the
various islands, parasailing, to fine dinning, smoking Cuban cigars
and of course the night life, it's all here. And that's pretty
much what people where doing here on Dec 26, 2004.
The day started off
as usual, with many people hanging out on the beach or visiting
the surrounding islands. Then came the first sign of something
out of the ordinary, the ground began shaking, then a short while
later the tide, rather then rolling up onto the beach was rescinding
out, further and further, until people watching noticed a massive
wave building, then the shouting started: "Tidal wave! Tidal
wave clear the beach!" But at this point it was too late;
the massive force covered the beach and crushed into the beach
front property and hotels. Many people in Phukett - mostly American
and Europeans - where killed instantly. The kings oldest daughter's
son while in his hotel, was killed, his father an American and
in the States at the time was notified.
While all this was taking
place, I had just returned home from the noon AA topic discussion
meeting, here in Pattaya the topic was making amends. Our area
was not affected much for that we are all grateful. My phone rang
from various AA friends and neighbors telling me what had happened.
I tried calling AA friends in that area, the phone lines where
down, on the computer, I was able to reach two English friends
living in Phukett, they mentioned how they where on there way
down to the beach when they where encountered by a massive crowd
returning in panic saying go back it?s a tidal wave, next came
all the emergency vehicles. They said the horror and panic felt
was overwhelming and they joined in running back to higher ground.
Many people were not as fortunate they lay trapped within the
structures that collapsed. Watching the CNN and BBC news stations
here in Pattaya it appeared to be a hopeless situation.
So much destruction
and death. What struck me the most was the children wandering
aimlessly looking for there parents. An amazing thing occurred
in all this confusion, people saw what needed to be done and in
a combined effort did what they felt was necessary. Women gathered
up the wandering children and provided them with comfort, others
began the search for survivors within the damaged buildings, and
Thai people came from the surrounding communities bringing food
water blankets and clothing. A survivor reported to CNN that she
was overwhelmed by the kindness that the Thai women displayed
to her, with her hotel destroyed and all her possessions lost,
she was approached by a Thai woman that had given her 500 Baht(
equal to $12), which is a lot of money that she needed for her
own family, this Thai woman said "I only wish I had more
to give you". In response to this wonderful gesture, she
began crying and said how ashamed she felt; for this type of kindness
would not be received in her own country, and she said when back
home she would do all she can in helping others.
Many countries sent
relief teams here to help, and from the Thai communities like
here in Pattaya many of us foreigners gave blood, food clothing
and money, and many of the Thai people did as well. AA people
from the Phukett area have been visiting with us her. In the meetings,
you can imagine how grateful they spoke of being alive and a power
greater then them selves providing another day of life. The AA
meetings in Phukett did not stop but rather increased, some to
different locations. I was please to hear that the king of Thailand
declared all the children orphaned by this tragedy will be provided
for with a safe envoirment clothing and food, o be relocated with
relatives or placed in an orphanage.
Discussions and planning
are now taking place with the help of the USA and other countries
regarding advance weather warning systems. As you all can imagine
the effects of this tragedy will be with us for always, but moving
on in a positive direction, grateful for that of which was not
taken and to appreciate it all the more.
In closing I can say
Thailand is a wonderful country to enjoy for all of us foreigners
living or visiting here. Of the many attractions we do get to
enjoy here, the AA meetings found all over this country, and the
comfort of feeling welcomed by the people of Thailand is to me
the absolute best of all!
Regards in the Fellowship