Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bangkok Offerings

Below is a little multimedia piece that I made from this morning's gathering of Buddhist Monks in Asok, Bangkok, Thailand.

I had finished up shooting/collecting audio and was sitting curbside drinking water and thinking of my empty stomach when a monk approached me and offered a bowl of rice pudding. As cars flew by and motorcycles beeped their horns, the two of us sat on the ground and had breakfast as the sun rose up and the crowds dispersed from the event.

In short, it was a spectacular morning...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sister Joan Evans

Yesterday, through a friend, I was introduced to Sister Joan Evans, an Australian woman who has dedicated the past 20 years of her life to living and working in the Klong Toey Slum of Bangkok. Each week those in need gather at her doorstep to request funds for everything from food to minor home repair.

Sister Joan's meetings with those who come to see her are brief -- often beginning with an exchange of greetings and ending minutes later with a quiet bow of respect.

The amount of money (all from donations) is usually quite small -- sometimes only a few hundred Baht, equivalent to just over six U.S. Dollars -- but for those living in Klong Toey, where upward mobility is next to impossible, it can make all the difference.

In the two decades Sister Joan has lived in the slum, poverty rates have remained stagnant. Today, she focuses primarily on helping children stay in school. With an education, she hopes they may be able to grow up with an understanding of their own situation which could prompt some to seek a better life.

After receiving financial help from Sister Joan Evans, a man bows in respect before leaving her home.
Residents of Bangkok's Klong Toey slum wait outside of Sister Joan's home.

Sister Joan hands a woman a small amount of Thai Baht to help get her through the next week. 

A woman signs a sheet to acknowledge she has received help from Sister Joan. Each visitor must sign in to help maintain an organized record of outgoing money.

Outside of Sister Joan's home, visitors from the slum wait their turn to meet with her.

A bead of sweat drips down a man's cheek as he waits to be seen by Sister Joan. Nerves often run high as visitors are not guaranteed to receive financial aid.

A young boy looks on as he waits to meet with Sister Joan. 

Inside of Sister Joan's home, a young girl waits after requesting money for school.

A white board inside of Sister Joan's home.

Sister Joan hands a woman a small amount of cash.

As heavy rain clouds move in, Sister Joan meets with two young schoolgirls.

I will be spending a little more time photographing life in Klong Toey before heading up to Chiang Mai via overnight train on Sunday. 

That's all for now ;)