Falling leaves. Springing leaves.

Of everything that fades away, something new comes. This is the natural cycle of nature. Every phenomenon gives human beings lessons and awareness of rebirth, changes and ending of things.

Changes in life can bring happiness, smiles, joy or separation, sadness and sufferings. To depart with loved ones is suffering. To crave for something and not get it is suffering. Physical discomfort, uneasiness and desperation are all sufferings.

Every human being in the world regardless of race, religion or material status wants comfort, contentment, recognition, love and moral support. We all have feelings, needs and the same basic needs.

People can be disturbed by the loss of those around them because they can appreciate the feeling of separation and loss. In many corners of the world, there are cries to end violence of all forms. Violence takes place every minute from a small incidence to world wars.

People who want satisfaction make wars because they are not aware of the consequence of those who suffer; needless to mention natural destruction which is beyond control of human beings. If we ask children or adults about an ideal world, they all want a beautiful world where everyone understands each other, love, care, and share – the world of peace.

Peace is the state of being one, the flow of life without discrimination. There are no whites, yellows, blacks, no differences among races, religions or cultures. There is an awareness of the diversity of nature as well as compassion.

At a place touched by disaster, there is today a community of peace and support. After the tsunamis, the Tsunami Volunteer Center at Khao Lak Nature Resort, Phang Nga was set up to channel the compassion of people from Thailand and other countries – those who want to help the victims of tsunamis. Manpower is important in such a critical moment. That is the power of people of different backgrounds, skills, expertise and experience with the compassion to help, share and create.

Each morning here is a morning of hope, enthusiasm and motivation.

Many would like to halt their lives without having to worry about making money, seeking reputation or securing social status. There is no class for being here. Everyone is a giver and a receiver. Everyone coordinates smoothly.

70 years old Australian volunteer and Interior Design Consultant , Mrs. Mary Jackson, is called James Mary because she uses the same cars as James Bond. She does not look her age because she is still gracious. She has been around the world and has faith in Mahayana Buddhism along the Dalai Lama tradition. Mary said that in her life of 70 years, she has met famous and rich people who could show their greatness in giving and behave in a non-discriminatory way like people who are working for others in this Center.

Volunteers are impressed and proud to have been here. Some went back home and wanted to come back. Some non-Thai volunteers have been here for months for the satisfaction of helping others. They are not doing this for themselves, are not attached, do not need any recognition because they are aware that they are giving and gaining from their actions in the forms of happiness, joy and virtues. This is how furniture was created from coffin wood.

An architect, graduated from Chulalongkorn University, Tawan Lekhasathaporn (Tum) came to volunteer early after the disaster. He saw tons of donated coffin wood and empty coffins lying around at Wat Yan Yao. Some wood would not stand too long outdoors, especially plywood. He personally does not like to see things go to waste and is good at applying them into something useful. He had an idea of making coffin wood and coffins into tables and chairs. The wood therefore was transported from Wat Yaan Yao to the Volunteer Center for adaptation to tables, desks and chairs, which are much needed by children and schools.

Manual work and woodwork helps to let go of self. It relaxes the mind and creativity usually follows the experience gained from this craftsmanship.

Labour and creativity are essential for wood furniture making. A Belgian, Mr. Christopp Boumboo, 34 years old, grew up in a furniture entrepreneur family. He studied architecture and interior design. At present, Chirstopp makes products from bamboo because there are a lot of bamboos around his house. When Christopp arrived at Khao Lak Nature Resort and saw the piles of wood that Tum gathered, he knew immediately what he could do. Christopp could visualize what could become of those pieces of wood.

Looking at small children desks with a craved picture of a child’s smile, Christopp said that children would be smiling like this today. Small, colourful chairs followed with painting of maps representing the different nationalities of the volunteers.

Besides tables and chairs, Chirstopp could create many other products such as office cabinets, mini-bar counters, shelves, book cases and lately, soccer goals and lamp stands.

In less than a month, 20 handmade desks from the volunteers were given to Khuk Kuk School and 10 to the Center of Displaced People. Christopp plans to stay here for another month. Newly arrived volunteers helped in giving a hand. Some just learned to saw wood and stamp a nail here. Some did sanding jobs or painted the furniture. Gradually the big pile of wood was transcribed into something useful for children and schools.

Volunteers who helped with painting and drawing included British photographer Elle Hughes, , Robby Dewack, Belgian musician, , New Zealander artist Will Handley and his sister Joen Handley. The two brother and sister have been doing voluntary work with Green Peace against Nuclear Power Plant and GMO. There is also a male nurse from New Zealand, Adam Deere who is good at painting and a retired British engineer, Geoff Thorsby as well as an older couple from Canada, Ron and Lise Brook.

We do not forget the team of young Southern Thai women and men who participated in sawing wood and many others all of whom we cannot name.

Some spent a short while here but they all were part of the achievement.

In the next few days, more bookcases, desks and small chairs will have been completed for use in Khuk Kuk sub-district and other nearly areas in Phang Nga who may have a need for them. The next sets of furniture will have only base paint and not colours and paintings by the volunteers. Children who will receive the desks and chairs will paint their own aspirations and dreams so that they can feel the sense of ownership. This will be their pride that will bring smiles, laughter, joy, hope and motivation to children themselves and adults alike.

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