Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Need a place to send donations???

Today I recieved an email from a new online friend. It was actually a forwarded letter from Glen "Jeep" Holthaus. It touched me deeply and so I wanted to share at least a portion of his letter with others...

Lek and sister #5 got back last night from their 3rd trip south, finally. They ran into many problems in delivering the aid. They went to Khao Lak area and saw only 3 other trucks in that area delivering supplies while they were there. The roads around the worst area are torn up badly in some areas and they got one of the trucks stuck in the mud for a few hours until they finally got it jerked out by an elephant that was working in the area. Only problem was it tore off the bumper of the truck, so that is going to cost me to repair it. We don't have any pictures of the trucks handing out the supplies. I thought of that before they left, but felt that it wouldn't be a good idea for her and her sister to look like they had much money or valuables, so I told her to leave the digital camera home and to only travel with about 3,000 baht small change in her pockets. Good thing I did it turns out. They were held up at gunpoint twice while in the desolate areas trying to get to the Khao Lak area via the back roads. First time they were held up by 3 men who had one pistol. They gave the girls and drivers the once over and seeing they hadn't anything of value to steal, just took what the 3 could carry on their bodies back to the jungle. She is sure they were just very hungry people, since all they took was light weight food supplies.

The second time they were stopped at gunpoint was by 6 men in Thai army uniforms. Once again they took what they wanted out of the trucks and ran off into the woods. I am glad the girls didn't have any thing of value on them, because it may have been a lot worse. As it was, they only lost about 5% of their cargo. When they finally stopped the trucks at a hard hit area where there were people mulling about searching through the rubble. They were mobbed. There was no order at all to the people taking the supplies. Only chaos. They were very desperate people. It took only about 15 minutes for the people to unload the trucks and they were off in a flash trying to start fires in the bbq cookers we provided and were cooking away very quickly and eating with their hands as fast as any food was even partially ready to eat. After about 2 hours after Lek had been talking with the people, they turned the trucks around and started to leave the area. As soon as the trucks were turned around, they were mobbed again and they took as many people as would fit in the trucks back with them to a refugee area on the highway. Lek says she couldn't count how many people were in the 2 trucks, but she says she thinks it was at least 50 per truck. When they reached the refugee area, Lek said her passengers mobbed the mess tent en masse and no amount of the people who were there working with the charity organizations could get them into any semblance of order. Total chaos reigned, again.
Lek and sister #5 decided to get the hell out of there and return to Pattaya post haste, and wasted no time getting out of there. They didn't waste time going the couple of hours down the road to Phuket since she said they had seen hundreds of trucks heading into that area on the way down. She says she spoke with a few of the aid workers at the refugee area who told her that they expected some of the relief organizations and choppers into the area in a day or two. The workers also said that the collection area in Phuket itself was jam packed with agencies, supplies, trucks, government officials, etc. and that moving around in the Phuket area with the 2 trucks Lek had would have been difficult. They also told her all the stores from Songkla south were already charging higher prices for the basic supplies needed in the south.

end story

The email was much longer (3 pages out of my printer). From the email I decided to check into Glen's charity work a bit deeper.

">Link to "Computers For Thai Kids Charity Project"

"Jeep" is, at this point in time, concentrating on helping the victims of the tsunami and is really making sure the help is taken to the bottom level. If you are/were like I am/was, and unsure of where to put your money in disaster relief PLEASE consider donating. He has a PayPal account and a secure credit card service.

For a forward of the complete email I recieved please write to: prytor at(@)