Preeyaporn „Nai“ Tangswatdiwong (ten-years-old)
Nutpong „Long“ Tangswatdiwong, (twelve-years-old)
Ratikan „Ching“ Tangswatdiwong, (eighteen-years-old)
Approximately four years ago Nai, her brother Long and her sister Ching woke up and noticed that their parents had disappeared. Rumors say they left because of their desperate situation to find work in Taiwan. Others say they got murdered. One fact certainly is true though: They never came back.
An uncle took the kids in but tensions between him and his wife grew stronger. He already had to feed three children and soon it was clear there was not going to be enough around to feed a family of eight. Consequently Nai, Ching and Long woke up one fine day and again had been left alone. The uncle, his wife and their three children absconded.
Now Nai, Ching and Long had to take care of themselves. They lived in a small hut in the jungle and survived on leaves, insects and berries. They have inquisitive and strong minds and are not afraid of anything.
The village people eventually found them and mentioned to them the School for Life. Ching decided to bring her brother and sister to that place. Ching herself left but once in a while she appeared out of the jungle and visited her siblings. We asked her if she was not afraid to live alone in the jungle but she answered with a strong voice: “No, nothing can scare her.”
For quite some time Ching lived in the jungle all by herself. She borrowed a friend’s motorcycle to drive to secondary school in Doi Saket. When school finished she drove forty kilometers to Chiang Mai to work from six o’clock in the evening until two o’clock in the morning. After a very exhausting day she returned to the jungle. She repeated this process day in and day out until she arrived totally exhausted and tired at the School for Life and asked to be accepted as a boarder.
For one year she lived on the farm, drove to school early in the morning, returned in the afternoon and very lovingly and friendly took care of the other children. One certain day she learned that her parents neither were in Taiwan nor had they been killed but instead received a lifelong jail sentence for distributing drugs. Even their uncle had to leave because he as well had been wanted by the police.
Ching does not want to meet her father any more but liked to see her mother who is still doing her time in prison in Bangkok. And visiting her mum Ching did. She visited her accompanied by a tutor from the farm and the first time she saw her mother again after all those years, standing behind a glass pane and allowed to talk to her for fifteen minutes. Many tears were flowing and Ching’s mother asked for forgiveness.
Ching learned that their uncle actually was her parents’ boss, main dealer and pimp. The hut in the jungle was a hideout and the uncle is now living a wealthy live. He survived the government’s war on drugs and drug trafficking and hides his dirty secrets by pretending to be a ‘Guide’.
Today Ching is eighteen, has finished school and is deeply in love. Nobody was able to hold her back and as a result she is now living with her boyfriend in Chiang Mai. She found work in the city and occasionally visits her siblings and helps out at the farm. The farm became her home and she knows that the doors will always be open for her.
Nai (translated: “where are you?“) took over the big sister’s role. She plays classic Thai-guitar and wants to become a medical doctor. Long (translated: “lost”) as well would like to become a doctor. He loves to swim and masters the most important tasks a house husband needs to know in the jungle: looking for ant nests and eggs in the trees and cleaning up the dishes.