If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep walking.

Charged with a newfound purpose, I threw myself into the web in search of a community of people whose lives I can better through my efforts. My vision had always been to help children, as I believe they are most in need of compassion. And in particular I wanted to focus on those of Thailand. Having traveled there, I have yet to find a kinder people. They are hospitable, thoughtful and generous, and I would be honored to serve them in any capacity.

In my search I stumbled upon an outdated website for an orphanage in a remote corner of Northeast Thailand. The orphanage was unique in that it looked after children who were HIV positive and for whom the world had turned its back. I came to find the website had been created by a Norwegian man, Atle Bratteli, who died tragically only months after launching it. Although unsophisticated, the website served to connect this remote place to an English-speaking audience capable of helping. And there I was over 8,000 miles away, suddenly connected.

Atle Bratteli's Website

The sadness of these circumstances was accompanied with a feeling of hope. Perhaps I was meant to stumble upon this site, and pick up where he had left off? Through further reading I discovered that the orphanage’s founder, Mrs. Suthasinee Noiin (‘Mae Tew’) had been hospitalized with intestinal cancer many years prior and given only 6 months to live. Was she still alive? Is this orphanage still running? These questions, and others, swirled in my head. I felt called to seek out these answers so I then resolved to throw myself head long into helping the children of the Suthasinee Noiin Foundation (also, known as ‘Home Hug Orphanage’ or ‘Home of Love Orphanage’).

From the start, I will admit that it is with great insecurity that I commit myself to this end – because as soon as you declare an ambition you open yourself up to failure. But I am satisfied that the pursuit is worthwhile, even if I should come to find that it exceeds my talents.

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