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I arrived in Nongkhai, Thailand in September. I had no idea what to expect except for that was going to a volunteer center to be trained for a few days in the local culture and language and then off to an eco-volunteer project in northern Thailand. After the initial excitement of the Tuktuk ride (small three wheeled Thai taxi) I finally arrived at the Openmind Center. It was not as big as I had expected but had a warm feeling to it with an outside kitchen and flags decorated on the walls. I looked over and I saw the Swedish flag – alright I was represented.  At the gates I was greeted warmly by one of...
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  I had the privilege to stay for a number of weeks with a lovely group of kids who live at the HUC orphanage under the care of an inspiring young man, Bhakta and his wife, Bimala.  More of a large family than an orphanage, HUC was founded about 10 years ago to provide a home for these 10 children orphaned by the Maoist conflicts in western Nepal. Bhakta and Bimala are like parents to the kids (6 boys and 4 girls) who are nearly all teenagers now, mostly between 14 -16 years old.  It is to Bhakta and Bimala’s credit that they have managed to raise them to be lovely, caring, well-behaved young people.  I...
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Naga – as told by Toto This is the story as Toto told it to me.  Many, many years ago, so long ago it is longer than I can remember, said Toto, when Buddha was one of the lower species, at the bottom rung of his journey towards enlightenment, Buddha was King of the Toads. At that time the world was inhabited by all kinds of animals, humans and spirits; good spirits such as the ones that live in trees to protect them. The most selfish of all the creatures on Earth were, unsurprisingly, the humans. They were self-interested and had no respect for nature. They had little respect for the Gods as well. They ended up...
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