It was a great morning at Ban Jing Jai Orphanage on Saturday, January 11th, traditionally Thailand’s Children’s Day, and no Kiddies Day would be complete without a visit from Pattaya’s very own World Famous Doctor Penguin and his Magic Circus.
After we arrived and unloaded the transport, the good Doctor and his son Ali were left setting up his show while I was able to roam the grounds and watch some of the other activities.
First of all there was the traditional teachers vs students tug-of-war, which the students won quite handily (a few more kiddo’s on the winning side than there were on the teachers side, though).
There were several food stalls, a free ice-cream machine with three different flavours, Oxford Terry was there with his incredible bubble wands, Canadian Ross with his rhythm guitar, all the while Ali stayed busy blowing up balloons for the show.
When the time arrived, a hush came over the crowd and the kiddies with their parents, relatives, guardians, teachers, and the rest of the curious crowd settled in to watch the Good Doctor pull off his amazing wizardly tricks.
Children were individually called up to the Penguin’s stage where things were made to appear and disappear, rings locked together were freed from each other, and the mystery coke bottle in the paper bag as well as the amazing rope tricks were more than enough to keep the crowd in stitches.
“It was nice to catch up with them,” the Good Doctor said. “It’s been too long since my last visit. One girl named Doi has taken up photography. She came up to me after I arrived and introduced herself, although there was no need, I remembered her. She has such distinctive eyes. She wanted to take photos, naturally I said ok. It is lovely to see young minds developing.
“(I’ve witnessed) so many stories at Ban Jing Jai. I remember when they were living in two ramshackle houses filled with kids from the streets, some of them abused and coming from horrible stories. They’ve come such a long way! Special thanks to so many good friends who helped make that possible, just ordinary people who cared enough to help. I want to thank each and every one of them. Today these kids live in a wonderful environment and are looked after by real caring people. I’m so happy to have done a small contribution for this beautiful place and for that I am truly and eternally grateful, and I thank you.”