April 6, 2010
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Victoria
Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 189 days
With just 27 weeks to the day until Queen Elizabeth joins the fleet, the excitement is building and I’ll have more pictures to post on Friday. Meanwhile having visited the exciting city of Rio De Janiero Queen Mary 2 is now heading north to the Caribbean and Barbados. Queen Victoria spent her Easter celebrations in Dubai and is now heading back to Salalah in Oman.
In last Thursday’s Blog you may recall the visit by some of our guests and crew to the Pattaya Orphanage. Very closely associated with the Pattaya Orphanage is the Father Ray Foundation who are currently helping over 850 children and young adults with disabilities or have been abandonedand deprived of a normal, loving, and productive life.We had been contacted a few weeks earlier by Ajima Chavalit-Thamrong from the Foundation saying that the children would like to perform for our guests on board as a thank you to Cunard guests and crew for all their support over the years. The afternoon began with nearly ninety children coming on board to be met by the Master of Queen Victoria, Captain Christopher Rynd, who posed for a photo with the children and helpers from the foundation, and we presented them with the photo at the end of the afternoon as a memento of the day.
Before the performances our food and beverage team had laid on a wonderful spread of sandwiches, cakes and cookies with juices and soft drinks all set up in the crew recreation room which acted as a Green Room for the afternoon. Lisa and Thomas and other members of the Entertainment Team had done a great job in decorating the venue and the kids had a great time playing with all the balloons.
The Father Ray Foundation, whose motto is “We never turn a child in need away” was founded in 2003 by Father Raymond Allen Brennan, C.Ss.R., a Catholic Priest of the Redemptorist Order in Thailand. The Foundation’s aim is to make a positive difference in the lives of underpriviledged children, young people with disabilities and the poor of Thailand and they currently have several ongoing projects.
Many of these projects were represented in the afternoon’s performance which opened with the Pattaya Redemptorist School for the Blind school which was established in 1986, and offers an education at primary and secondary levels to those children who are blind or severely partially sighted. They sang beautifully and played a traditional Thai instrument called the Angalung
The Father Ray Children’s Home was established in 1990, and provides assistance to under-privileged children who lack proper care from their own families. In the home, children shall have a normal daily living, access to an education, medical assistance and good quality meals. There were three performances from this group, firstly a modern”Hip-Hop Dance” routine and then later some rather more traditional dancing. The third performance was an exhibition of Muay Thai (Thai Boxing).
The more recently opened Father Ray Children’s Village, which looks after orphaned and less fortunate children aged from birth to 12 years old, performed a traditional dance from Isaan in the north east of Thailand.
The next performance was the Cloud Dance and a special rendition of Que Sera Sera by the Father Ray Day Care Centre. The project opened just two years ago and provides caring services for small children aged 2 – 5 years old who are from poor families living in risk environmental areas. Their performance was absolutely enchanting.
The final performance was from the Redemptorist Vocational School for People with Disabilities which was established in 1984. The school offers vocational training courses for physical disabled people aged 17 – 35 years and to date has successfully graduated over 2,000 students who are now earning a living and contributing to Thai Society. Their performance of Wheelchair dancing was really incredible showing amazing talent as well as strength and versatility.
The audience loved the whole show with so many guests telling me how impressed they were by the children. A few days later I received this lovely message from Ajima.
Dear Khun Alastair,
I would like to say a big thank you to you and all the staff on the Queen Victoria for such a memorable day yesterday. The children had a wonderful time, and for most of our children and students it was the first time they had ever been on a ship (me too). Thanks also for providing all the wonderful snacks; the children really loved all the sandwiches, cakes and jellies. Many of the younger children slept during the short journey home, but some of the older children had eaten so many wonderful cakes there was no chance they were going to sit still. Thank you again for everything and we all wish you and all on the Queen Victoria a very safe journey, and we hope to see you all again next year. Kob Khun Ka, Sawasdee ka. And Warmest Regards
Our thanks to Ajima and everyone at the Foundation for such a great show. You can find out more about the Father Ray Foundation by clicking on this link: WWW.fr-ray.org
It was certainly one of those special days on the World Voyage and my thanks to Dee from our on board photo team for capturing these great images. I’ll be back tomorrow with some news and pictures from Queen Mary 2 and her time in South Africa and their Full World Voyage Dinner. Cheers for now Alastair.