When we first started visiting Yaai we didn’t yet know Nong. Our main focus was on taking care of Yaai and her two grown kids who lived with her. An elderly neighbor would occassionally come over to see what was going on when we were there, but she didn’t hang around for too long. As the years went on she became more and more comfortable with us and would stay for longer. Eventually we learned that she and yaa are family! Her name is Nong, and Yaai’s husband was her brother.
Now we see her quite often, almost every time we visit yaai! Nong lives with her kids and grandkids at the house; her husband has passed away. Nong and Yaai are good friends and keep each other company often. Once she realised we were going to be around for a while, she would start to come over to see us whenever we showed up. Nowadays we don’t just go to see Yaai, we go to see Yaai and Nong.
Nong is quite a bit younger than Yaai (at 109 years old, almost everyone is quite a bit younger than Yaai) and also lives in poverty. She may be getting old, but she doesn’t let age stop her! Sometimes when we go to visit her we find out that she is out in the field to work. Her body aches but she likes to stay busy. She is also very skilled in sewing, and we’ve watched her hand sew her own fishing nets.
When we bring a care package to Yaai, or bring a grilled fish and fresh vegetables for lunch, we will now bring one for Nong as well. Since Yaai’s son struggles with alcoholism, we are glad these two ladies have each other! Nong and her family can help monitor the food and supplies and make sure Yaai is eating and her health is attended to. They watch out for each other.
We recently discovered that Nong does not have a national ID card. Without this she isn’t eligible for the 30 baht healcare scheme or the old age government stipend. As she ages it would be good to have this financial assisntace, especially needed since they are living in poverty.
We have connected Nong and her family with a local foundation that can work with her and go through the steps of how to obtain a national ID card. Oftentimes there are a myriad of steps to go through and it can be difficult to navigate without assistance.
Your donations have helped take care of Nong, and they have allowed us to be a lisason between her and the people who are best able to assist her!