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July 20, 2010

From the FieldAfter a year of living in Thailand, SOLD Founder Rachel Sparks-Graeser jotted down a few lessons learned. She writes:

While I’m headed “home,” the home we created in Thailand will not be easily forgotten. I’ve learned and experienced so much during my year here developing SOLD’s prevention program in Chiang Rai. I’ve learned that:

  • Watching a child’s reaction when they are offered a chance to stay in school is priceless. In other words, working to prevent child exploitation might possibly be the best job in the world.
  • Education truly is the key to prevention.
  • You don’t have to speak the language in order to communicate your heart, but learning to speak the native language definitely goes a long way!
  • “Mai bpen rai” is a Thai phrase that means “Don’t worry about it.” This describes the way Thais live their lives. To me, it is a constant reminder to let go of the little things and enjoy life as it comes.
  • Just because I’m American doesn’t mean I know best!
  • Even if you know you only have a short time to share your life with people, don’t hold anything back.
  • A child’s laugh can cure anything.

Thailand changed me, and living among the people whose lives we are helping to better has changed and molded SOLD into a better organization. I am excited for this next phase, to move forward and apply the lessons I’ve learned in Thailand. I have so many stories to share, and I look forward to seeing many of you while I am on the road speaking.

Rachel Sparks-Graeser
Founder, The SOLD Project

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