This adventure started Monday with a phone call from our friend who lives in Mae Sot, who was coming with us to Umphium Refugee Camp. She phoned to say the transport was organised but not ideal. Immediate alert! OK to go, but we would have to take the local bus to come back. This is a one and half hour of narrow winding roads through a spectacular mountain range. So we sprang to action, hired a 4WD vehicle and called back to say situation sorted! Tuesday started at 7am to leave for the market to buy fruit, milk and noodles for the children we arrived at the appointed destination to meet with the rest of the gang going to the camp to find no-one there - OK, time to have breakfast afterall.
The scenery down to Umphium is breathtaking, although travel sick tabs are required if you suffer from travel sickness. We arrived at the camp, signed in and were waved through. As always seeing so many people living in such cramped conditions has a large impact, but the rainy season amplifies the effect. Built as temporary accommodation 20 years ago the camp is continually undergoing repair and renovation. Recently the rules have changed to allow these temporary bamboo shelters to have concrete floors and footings. We were pleasantly surprised to find the funds we had sent earlier in the year to repair the canteen roof had stretched to cover the cost of a concrete floor for the dining room and kitchen at Du Pla Ya.
We met with the boarding house leader - a wonderfully compassionate woman who also cares for 20 children in her own home within the camp. We were also joined by Room to Grow Foundation who also partially fund this boarding house and we discussed future plans for working together to provide full support for Du Pla Ya.