Christopher Robert Project founders Lynn and Rip traveled with a Karen friend to his village three hours north of Chiang Mai and found the village to be very kind and welcoming. Since the land is situated in a valley near the Mae Taeng river, the village had a small waterfall and a stream where kids would swim and play, adults would wash their clothes and livestock would meander through. Founder’s brought along their tablet pcs in hopes of having some fun playing games with the children and showing them interesting photos.
The reception of this technology was more popular than either could have realized. In this village of no electricity everyone welcomed this new technology; children, teens and even the adults. Lynn and Rip purchased ten tablet pcs preloaded with English language software and volunteers presented them to the kids in a school setting every other weekend for one year. The result was English language education to 60 + hill tribe residents using Karen volunteers from the village and tablet pcs. For teaching purposes the Christopher Robert Project supplied volunteers with a battery powered projector and they set up a small theater in an old trekking guesthouse. The purpose was to give the children another avenue for learning. Since the village had no school, near the end of the year the Christopher Robert Project funded all building materials needed to construct a Learning Center with an attached latrine. The village residents built the center themselves.
It was in Mae Jok in 2013 that the founders met a young man and his sister suffering with post polio syndrome for a decade with no therapy or medical care. All of their personal care was received on the family’s front porch in an undignified manner. The girl passed away before help could arrive a week later. Since the founder’s son was handicapped Lynn and Rip were sensitive to the issue of dignity for handicapped individuals. The Christopher Robert Project donated materials to build a wheelchair accessible home and latrine and it was built by the village residents. The family borrowed a shower-chair and specialized seating from Rajanagarindra Institute of Child Development to assist the son with personal care in a dignified manner. Lynn and Rip became great friends with the residents of Mae Jok and regularly brought cases of supplemental nutritional drinks since the post-polio village resident weighed only 22 kilograms at 23 years of age. We are sorry to report that the young man, T’pet, passed away in May 2016.
In the cold weather months each year there are village deaths from exposure so founders donate blankets, shoes and warm clothing. In the rainy season, mosquito nets for each house, toys for the kids and art supplies for the English teachers were donated. The 30+ children in the village all shared one bicycle that had no chain, no brakes and no pedals. They would take turns pushing each other through the village, never fighting, each patiently waiting their turn on the bike. Since Mae Jok is a Christian village the Christopher Robert Project donated ten bicycles of all sizes on Christmas as a gesture of good will.