The Frohne Flier

Volume 1, Issue 3 P. O. Box 4 Muak Lek, Saraburi, Thailand Tuesday July 3, 2001

Phone: 66-36-344-726

 
Happy July 4 to those of you in America
The weather has been pretty good here. I has been raining every day or two, and not that hot. I checked the temperature forecasts for today. It is supposed to be 90 degrees in Bangkok and 97 degrees in Walla Walla. Are you sure you live in the right place? Actually, because it is humid here, it feels warmer then 90 degrees would be in Walla Walla, but compared to what it could be were feeling quite comfortable.
 
 
Ah, That's Comfort - A Sabbath Morning Surprise
Last Sabbath morning I sent Araya out to the shoe rack to get on her Sabbath Shoes. She was there just a few seconds when she came back in yelling, "Mama! There's a scary bee thing in your Sabbath Shoes!" I came running quickly with visions of wild African bees in my head, and the urge to save my children from being stung. (Do they even have those in South East Asia?) I looked at the bottom shelf where my shoes rested and there was something scary, but it wasn't a "bee thing". It was a toad! Now it was my turn to shriek to Rob for assistance. I did not want it to get scared and leave anything behind in my shoes, as I have only one Sabbath pair here. Rob came and brought his camera so you can see for your self the bumpy creature that thought my shoe looked like the ideal resting place. And he also kindly evicted him so that I could make it to Sabbath School on time.
 
Branch Sabbath School
After church I tried to make spaghetti and sauce for lunch. The sauce I thought would be the hard part as it had to be made from scratch with tomato paste and my own creative seasonings. Somehow it turned out pretty good. The noodles should have been the simple part. I had found and purchased them last week at Lotus in Saraburi (30 minutes away). All I needed was some boiling water. I filled the kettle and lit the burner. Then I got working on the sauce. The water was still not boiling when the sauce was not done. I looked and it was no longer lit. So I got it going again. Then when I looked back, the burner was off again. I lit it a third time and this time discovered that my littlest kitchen helper :) was busy helping mama to conserve energy and turning off the burner as soon as I would turn my back. He now knows to leave the knobs alone.

But what does this have to do with branch Sabbath School? Well, I had agreed to go help, but had misheard the departure time. Just as I was finally getting the water ready to boil, the phone rang for me. Asking if I was ready to go. Well, not really, but I left anyway with a handful of almonds in my hand and let Rob figure out how to make spaghetti.

The branch Sabbath School was interesting. It is actually an English class at the nearby public school, for kids I guessed to be 11 or 12. The teacher approached someone at the college a couple years ago and asked them to come teach English for their class, and they agreed if they could use Christianity as the medium. The teacher amazingly agreed because she grew up with a Christian background. So every Sabbath a group of people go and teach Christian songs and tell about God in stories with Thai translation. And these kids have to sit and listen and learn the vocabulary. Pray for this group, that God's Spirit will move on their hearts, that they will be teachable and learn so much more then just English.

Trip to Bangkok
My Bangkok friend, Pi Oi, was going to come and visit for the weekend, and then was unable. So I decided to go and visit her. I was frustrated about being in the country and not being able to see her. She was going to have Monday and Tuesday off, so I found a ride to Bangkok with the College Driver. He was taking the pastor to the airport to pick up a guest speaker for week of prayer. The driver was so nice. He dropped off the pastor at the airport then drove Araya, William and I on the church where Oi agreed to meet us so we didn't have to take a taxi.

While waiting on the compound for Oi to come, I met several of my former church members. I found Solomon and Rosie Agdon's house and gave them a nice surprise. I met the children they were able to adopt since I was gone. A 5 year old girl from the Philippines, named Precious. And a 2 year old boy from Thailand, named Ian. Solomon is Treasurer of the mission now. I also met Nelson, Elvin, Josephine, and Jantra.

Oi had arranged for us to be able to stay at the home of the director of the Language school. We took our things over there and then went out to dinner at the little shop I used eat at all the time near the church. This time it was my turn for a surprise, because the lady and her husband who run the shop remembered me! They had lots of questions and were happy to meet Araya and William. The food was good, just as she used to make it.

That night sleeping was a bit difficult, as I am no longer used to the noise of the city. The was lots of sound out our window. A new mosque now calls everyone to prayer many times of day and night. There was normal street noise, buses, taxis, horns, motorcycles, people, music. And there was an unusual noise I couldn't quite identify. At first I thought it was music from a bar. Then I decided that it was someone practicing on an exotic instrument. The pitch and rhythm would rise and fall. And it went on most of the night and started again before the kids woke up at 5:45 a.m. I didn't figure out what it was until I was in the kitchen in the afternoon and turned on the sink. There I discovered I could play the exotic instrument myself by how hard I had the faucet turned on. The mysterious noise was the pump for the apartment building!

Monday, Oi took me to see the language school in it's new location. For those of you who have been to Ekamai church. You walk out the small soi (street) to Soi 71. Turn left up onto the side walk and look across the street. Straight across the street is the door to their building. The language school is on the second floor. So convenient! I wish it had been that way when I was there. I met Mam again, who has been working with Oi since before I left.

We took the kids to the zoo that morning. It isn't very big, but the price is good 30 baht for adults and the kids were free. There was an interesting display of monkeys from the region and the four tigers were out pacing. We saw the elephants and some tapirs from Malaysia. Huge piles of dirt separated us from the giraffe and zebras, so we could only see them from a distance. Seems they were working on something new. The kids enjoyed it for a little while, but soon the heat was too much for Araya and it was getting close to lunch, so we said good-bye and went off for lunch.

Oi took us to Soi Tong La (Sukhumvit Soi 40) where there is a great vegetarian shop now. It looked like a normal menu, with even fish stomach soup, but everything was vegetarian. I chose something a little more tame. We got Phat Thai, and Tom Yum soup with "chicken" and fresh squeezed Thai orange juice. I got fried rice with tofu for the kids, but they didn't eat very well. And Araya was soon upset so we hurried them along so they could take a nap. I would like to go back there again and eat something more adventurous next time.

I had planned to stay several days, but Araya was having such a hard time being there that I decided to go back on Tuesday. In the morning we went to a book store and I got a new Lonely Planet Guidebook to Thailand and a comprehensive Guide to the Birds of Thailand for Rob. We took the kids to play at a park. William just loved chasing pigeons and they didn't seem to mind one bit. There was a huge flock of them where some school kids were feeding them. He was fascinated.

Our last stop was Villa, a grocery store with imported food items. I would have bought quite a bit, but I knew I was going to have to manage our bags and the kids and already had too much to carry. I bought some lasagna noodles and cheese for another woman and a few things for ourselves.

In the afternoon Oi took us to the bus station and got us on the bus to Muak Lek. She called and told them when we were coming, but somehow the message didn't quite make it to the right person and so no one was there to pick us up when we got off the bus. The drop off point is kind of a covered market area in the shape of an open sided red barn. Inside they sell curry puffs, thai sweets, and fruits, basically all the kinds of things Thais take as gifts when they visit someone. Araya needed to go the bathroom, but first we needed to call and tell someone we were there. After asking, we found the phone, which didn't work. We tried a second phone, but it was only for phone cards. So off we went to find the bathroom. It was a muddy shed, quite filthy. And we were too late. Sigh. We found a clean place to sit down and prayed that someone would remember that we were coming. The ladies in the booths were watching us, and I could hear them talking. It wasn't long and one finally came over and told me the phone was broken. Yes, I knew that. They wanted to know where we were going. Now that was a difficult question because I had never heard the Thai word for Mission College. I thought and thought and finally came up with the word for elementary school and added the Thai way of saying Mission and they figured out what I meant. One kind woman let me use her private phone in her shop. And soon Dr. John, the director of the school of science was there to pick us up.

After going away for a few days, and coming back, the house in Muak Lek felt a little bit more like home.
 

Papaya Trees
In our yard there are 3 papaya trees and all three are bearing ripening fruit. I am really enjoying eating it so often. They are the kind with the nice dark pinkish orange. One of the grounds keepers watches them for me and brings them to me when they are ripe. We have been getting so many that I am even able to share with others who don't have any.
Frozen Jack Fruit
Rob's favorite fruit is turning out to be frozen Jack fruit. Shortly after he arrived he instructed me to find some at the market and put it in the freezer. Now we enjoy it most every day after supper. He wants to send a special thanks to Fred Christensen for teaching him how to do that when they were both in Guam.
 
The Red Bike
Since the last newsletter, Araya's days have brightened considerably, as I bought her a little red bike. I had thought I might get her one if they weren't too expensive. And it was only 799 baht or around $18, complete with handle bar brakes! She couldn't wait to get on and go zooming up and down the street. She can now get started herself by using the step or a curb to help her get on. She really zips along down around the circle and up to the neighbors garbage cans and coast back down to the circle again. I think it gives her quite the sense of freedom and power to go so fast.
 
New Swimming Pool
The next time I was back in Saraburi I found where they sold the wading pools. I went ahead and got one of those too, so more then one kid can be wet at a time. I think it is about 18 inches high and 5 feet across. The kids really like it and have been able to invite new friends over to play several times. The black tub need not feel sad though, for it has not been pushed aside to lesser chores, like laundry, but has come to new and more interesting use. Already it has been used as a boat big enough to float Araya. It has been used to cook Papaya leaf "soup". And as a bin to hold fish for sale. Anyone want to buy a zebra fish? It is a little plastic bag full of water with a plastic zebra floating inside. :) Big smile!
 
Recipe for Black rice pudding
Now, for what you have all been asking for. I now know how to make black sticky rice pudding, and soon you will too. Go to your favorite Oriental or Thai store and buy 1 1/2 cups of black sticky rice. You will also need a packet of coconut cream powder. The kind I have here is Chao Thai Brand Coconut Cream powder, net. Wt. 60 g. (2 oz.) For those of you in College Place, I have no idea if you can get it at the Oriental Store, but if LeeRong doesn't have it already, tell her to get it, because there will be a great demand for it once the word gets out. I will certainly be down to get some when I get back.

Now put 1 1/2 cups rice in your rice cooker and add twice as much water as you do for normal rice. For me I put water in until it came up almost to the top knuckle on my pointer finger. (Turned out great for me the first time.) If you don't end up with enough water, you can add more toward the end.(This is not the Thai way of doing it. They use a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water. The American lady across the street does it this way and it turns out great.) When the rice is finished it will be soft and moist, with a little water left to give it a bit of pudding consistency. Add more water and cook a bit more if it is too dry or not soft.

Now, sprinkle in the coconut cream power, add a pinch of salt, some vanilla if you wish, though it was good without, and sugar to make it as sweet as you would like. Put it in some pretty dishes and it is ready to enjoy. It is also good left over out of the refrigerator.

How's that for easy?
 

Soft Brown Rice
Another thing I learned from the lady across the street is how to make soft tender brown rice. She says the secret is to soak it in water for a day, up to 24 hours. I tried it and it turned out quite nice. I think it is a great idea because it is soaked so long it is almost ready to sprout and all the good nutrition in it is released. After this you cook it as normal.

There was some really good squash curry in the cafeteria. I am going to try to get that recipe next.
 

Sickness
I have been quite sick since Sabbath afternoon with an intestinal ailment. I think I am finally recovering, but it is slow. I was able to eat rice and papaya for lunch. I am hoping the rest of the family stays well.
 
Pray for Guitar and Pu
Please pray for my workers and our influence on them. I can tell they are really watching us closely. They are really interested in how we raise our kids and our family style. They like it so much better then the Thai way. They are both Buddhist still. I have such a short time with them. They are so sweet and I really like both of them.

One funny thing happened regarding Pu. Her name means crab, but Araya didn't know that. She thought it was Pooh. And shortly started calling her Pooh Bear. Pu didn't know what that was, but when I showed her a picture we had, she liked it right way. So now she has a second nickname.
 

Pictures
I want to get more pictures on our web page for you, but need Rob's help to do it. I will send this out first and then send a notices when there are more pictures on the web for you to view.
 
Questions
So what do you want to know about where we are living and our time here, that I haven't thought to mention? Please send your general interest questions to me and I will include them in my next issue of the Frohne Flier. Put Questions in the subject heading.

In my next newsletter I will also tell you about the trip we are planning for Thursday through Sunday with the Science department Students.