The teenagers attending the Father Ray Center for Children with Special Needs are, like many teenagers, obsessed with playing soccer. They train every morning and again in the afternoon, and yet they have never played a competitive match against another team, until recently.
When asked if they would like to play against a visiting team they could not contain their excitement, until they discovered who they would be playing.
The US Marines would be visiting Pattaya as part of the annual Cobra Gold joint military exercises, and prior to arriving at the Father Ray Foundation they had offered to play against the teenagers.
Fun at the Father Ray Children’s Home.
While the visiting Marines may be the leaders in many sports, soccer is not one of them and playing against a team who had never played before the final score was two goals each. No one is sure whether the US Marines were bad players or the prize of a trip to KFC urged the teenagers to play well.
The Marines also visited the Father Ray Children’s Home where they spent an afternoon taking part in various activities with the children, including playing soccer, basketball, an arm-wrestling competition and learning the skills and art of Muay Thai.
The teenagers with special needs did not win their soccer match, but they didn’t lose either.
Later, they arrived at the Redemptorist Vocational School for People with Disabilities and helped the students improve their English skills.
The final stop for the Marines was at the Father Ray Day Care Center.
Many of the servicemen and women have been on duty and away from their families, children and loved ones for many months, so meeting the toddlers was a moving, but happy, experience for many.
New friends swapping email addresses.
While pictures have appeared in the media showing the Marines dressed in battle gear, taking part in jungle exercises and drinking snake’s blood, there is also a softer side to these tough soldiers.
More information can be found at www.fr-ray.org or email [email protected]
Making new friends at the Vocational School.
Learning the art of Muay Thai.
The strength of two nations.
The US Marines enjoyed meeting the toddlers at the Day Care Center.
Meeting the toddlers at the Foundation was a reminder of home for many.
The Marines were willing to take tips from the youngster.