The Cobra Gold joint military exercises have become an annual event in Thailand, with many troops arriving from the US to learn new skills and share knowledge with their Thai counterparts.
Whilst the troops are kept busy with their official duties, they also find time to perform community service at social projects in and around Pattaya.
This year three projects under the management of the Father Ray Foundation were selected by COMREL, the community relations office of Cobra Gold: Pattaya School for the Blind, Redemptorist Vocational School for People with Disabilities and the Father Ray Children’s Home.
Time for a group photo.
At the Father Ray Children’s Home the task was to paint the exterior wall of the complex, all three hundred meters in length. However the early rains meant that the painting had to cease. A little bit of rain was not going to harm the Marines, but to continue to paint would be a waste of time, so instead the troops moved indoors to give the offices a much needed lick of paint.
After a long day’s work the Americans enjoyed a taste of home, with a meal of hot-dogs and hamburgers, before being entertained by the children who performed a selection of Thai traditional dances, which was followed by the young boys giving an exhibition of Muay Thai.
The following day the Marines split into two groups, with one traveling over to Naklua and the School for the Blind to paint the fencing around the swimming pool.
The third group of Marines spent the day hosting an English camp for the students with disabilities, allowing the students to learn about new cultures, life in the US and what it is like to be a Marine.
Whilst at the vocational school the Marines were given the chance to experience what it is like to live with a disability. Trying to get from A to B in a wheelchair was difficult, and attempting to play wheelchair basketball was not as easy as it looks.
More information on the Father Ray Foundation can be found at www.fr-ray.org or email [email protected]
The children were impressed with this Marine’s musical skills.
Making new friends.
Suppachai, director of the Children’s Home, thanks Chaplain Bailey for organizing the volunteers.
Dry for now, but once the rain started the Marines moved indoors to paint the offices.
Preparing the fencing at the School for the Blind.
One of the bigger Marines poses with one of the Home’s smallest boys.
Not as easy as it looks.
Even the female Marines were too strong for the local boys.