Monday, January 17, 2011


I met Diana today. She’s a Dutch woman who’s been living and helping at Baan Unrak with her husband, Mark. They’ve been here for two years now, and I think they’ll stay awhile longer. She’s a most incredible woman—more full of love than you usually see in five average people put together. At about four o’ clock today I went outside to go play with the kids, and she invited me to go on a walk with her and a few of the children around the Baan Unrak property. It was a lovely walk, but the company was even better. She treats everyone with smiles and understanding, and genuine concern. As we walked, the kids fought over who got to hold her hands, you can tell that she is a favorite with them. She would laugh and say, in her thickly accented English, “No need to fight, Diana has big hands! I can hold two hands at once, you see?” as she took two small hands in one of her own.

She and Mark (her husband) live in a small, simple house on the hill behind the children’s home. Despite the lack of modern conveniences, their home is bright and cozy. The walls inside the house are all painted different colors—my favorite wall was painted a pretty violet-blue with bright orange trim around the windows. They sleep on a large mattress on the floor, and their laundry can be seen in a small side room hanging over clothes-lines. Merry and Happy are the names of the two dogs that sleep at their house, the dogs once lived at Baan Unrak, but took to Diana and now sleep on her porch. There is a beautiful view of the lake behind the house, and they live just a short walk from some exotically land-scaped, more expensive guesthouses up the hill where sometimes they sit on the porches and play cards. Diana says they live in their own little paradise. I would have to agree with her.

As I continued to walk and talk with Diana, I discovered that before her life at at Baan Unrak, she and Mark were quite the party animals; they had experimented with alcohol, a few drugs, and each have their fair share of tattoos covering their bodies. Their life at Baan Unrak came about because both had a desire for a long healthy life together, and they knew that required a change. They’ve now given up their previous lifestyle in order to practice meditation, eat vegetarian meals, and involve themselves in the more spiritual aspects of life, such as service.

The kids here, being raised with either just one parent, or no parents at all, look to Mark and Diana as role-models. They are always asking, “Diana, you love Mark?” “Yes, I love Mark,” she says.
“And Mark love you?”
“Yes, Mark loves me.”

How blessed I feel to have two parents who are both alive, and who love each other—It’s not a very common thing any more, which is devastating, because it makes such a big difference in the lives of their children. I love you, Mom and Dad.

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