Bert and Sue Llamas recently traveled to Thailand and enjoyed a two-month visit with their daughter, Terra, who grew up in Canyon Lake and graduated from Temescal Canyon High School in 1995. They stayed at the Lighthouse Children’s Home in Chiang Mai, where Terra has been living since 2009 to serve Thai children in need. They spent time with the 18 children and staff that Terra oversees.
“I am so proud of the work Terra has been called to do in Thailand,” Sue says. “She is making a difference in these children’s lives by giving them love, security, a safe home and the opportunity to study.”
Bert adds, “All the children are between 5 and 18 years old and come from such a variety of tragic backgrounds. It is a blessing to see how well they are developing under a stable home environment. It’s also amazing to see Terra talk fluent Thai to them every day!”
During their visit, Bert and Sue learned about Thai culture and the different Thai hill-tribes. Since they were in the northern part of Thailand, they also experienced how northern Thai is different from the rest of Thailand, especially in terms of language, food and landscape.
“The landscape is lush and green, and everywhere you look there are water buffalo, cows and rice fields,” says Sue. “It’s unbelievable to see cows and huge water buffalo openly grazing at the neighbor’s house, lounging in the nearby water canal, or even walking in a herd down the middle of the road!”
One of their favorite things to do with the kids at the Lighthouse was to cook “moo-ga-tah,” which is a Thai barbecue where participants sit together and grill their own pork, meat and seafood. A special pan, with the center raised and a trough around the outside rim, is placed on a clay pot of hot coals.
Plain broth is poured in the trough and raw meat is placed on the top of a pan. As it cooks, juice from the meat rolls down into the trough of boiling water and marinates all the vegetables that have been added for flavor. The result is barbecued meat with custom soup every time.
Of their destination, Bert says, “This is one of the most relaxing places to visit. No one is rushed or in a hurry, and the culture is fascinating. Everyone is very courteous, smiling and polite. Plus the food is always really fresh and organic, though very spicy!”
Terra invites Canyon Lakers to contact her for suggestions or ideas if they’re planning to visit Thailand. She can be reached at www.thelighthousechildren.org.