Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Homemade Violin

Another amazing week.
We passed this elephant on the road today. Also saw
a boy riding an elephant. The boy dropped his hat. The
elephant stopped, picked it up with its trunk, and handed
it up to the boy.

In our English class, we taught how to shake hands. Thais usually do not shake hands, but when they do, many do the "dead fish" shake. We are not trying to change custom but to teach them how to greet English speaking people, especially Americans. We teach conversational English and greeting people is part of it. I found it interesting to see the students shake hands with each other – some embraced the idea with enthusiasm and others were still hesitant. Then there were some who didn't know when to let go!

On Thursday I drove Sister Sowards, a senior missionary couple, and a church representative from Hong Kong to Ayutthaya. One member family--the husband American and the wife Thai-- has recorded names from cremation headstones at nine local Buddhist temples. They did this with permission of the monks and do the recording as a branch project with other members  – about 500 names per site. The man from Hong Kong was exploring this process and how the names might be entered on-line, either through the Church or a company such as "A Billion Graves." It was a good meeting and much will come out of it in the future. These names will help the Thais do their family history work. The Thai people have so few records otherwise and many Thais don't know even their great grandparents' names.

Back to Ayutthaya on Saturday-- visited a 65 year old man who hasn't been active in years. He seemed a nice man and spends much of each day caring for a son who has brain damage. One of the elders asked him about playing the violin. This brought the man to life. He showed us an electric violin he had made mostly out of recycled material. The main body was a plastic pint STP type used plastic oil bottle. He plugged the violin into a portable speaker and started to play. He did well. 

Then he handed it to Elder Engle, who also plays the violin. Elder E. sounded great. The man brought out a home-made electric guitar built much like the violin. He play it, too. He and Elder Engle played several hymns and Silent Night together. All this happened at a small table in front of his shop/home. His wife is a seamstress and has a small shop in the house located on a busy street. It was about 6 PM, people and many cars were passing by as he & the elder played. Some customers came & left while this took place. The last piece he played on his guitar was a song by the Beatles. 

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