In early July 2008, I shared with you some shocking pictures of the Ban Khun Samut School where the buildings had collapsed into the canal. I have written about this community a number of times. This is the place where the local temple is surrounded by water at high tide. Even though the school was moved further inland in the early 1980’s, the sea has caught up with it again and during high tide the playground is flooded. I was back again at Khun Samut Chin this morning and I wanted to share with you some of the latest pictures of the school.
As you can see from these photos, in just over one month, the classrooms have been raised and they also have concrete supports. The old wooden supports had been eaten away which resulted in the collapse. There is still more work to be done but the school has re-opened. Apparently it was only closed for one week. I guess it was to their advantage that there are only 30 students so it was easy to move them to an empty classroom. The local government came to their aid and sent some money their way to do the repairs. Though it wasn’t quite enough.
It was exactly one year ago that I came to Khun Samut Chin to take part in the fund-raising effort at the temple. There were at least 500 people on that day including dignitaries such as the governor of Samut Prakan Province. A lot of money was raised for the temple. Other groups have come since and they have raised over one million baht for the temple. I also believe they have spent one million baht on building a sea wall around the temple as well as new buildings. But, none of this money went to the school which, in my mind, is just as important for the local community.
I was glad to receive an invitation to return to Khun Samut Chin for another fund-raising, though this time it was for the benefit of the school. There was a large crowd of people, though maybe not as much as last year. Nor did the governor of Samut Prakan make an appearance. People feel they are making more merit if they donate to the temple rather than a local charity. However, over 200,000 baht was raised. When I went to the school I could also see that they had received a number of donations of classroom equipment. There was also some company employees who had volunteered their time to do some painting. I am glad to see that the future for the school looks brighter. Though, as you can see from the above picture, the classrooms in the second block have started to lean as well.
You can see more of my pictures and read about this community at our sister site www.KhunSamut.com. I am planning to go back again in October to volunteer as an English teacher. I will share some updates with you later.