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» 02/12/2008
THAILAND
A new community is born from the tsunami
by Weena Kowitwanij
The story of how fishermen who have lost their homes have invented a new way of building houses, and rediscovered human solidarity.

Phang-Nga (AsiaNews) - After the tsunami in 2004 in Ban Nam Khem, in the province of Phang-Nga, the Thai government, with international aid, has built new homes for only 700 of the 2,000 families of the fisherman.  But many have rejected them because they are far away from the sea, their only source of income.

"So those who have lost their homes", recounts Jira Chummalee, the wife of a fisherman, "and did not want one of the new ones because it was far away from the sea have proposed to the government the purchase, with international aid, of a bit of land near the sea".  There, 50 families have built new homes by themselves. Prachuck Krichongreug, the group's leader, recounts that "the government has provided us a volunteer architect to guide us with the construction process".

"We built up our own community according to our own plan, with a central area for parking, a playground and a ‘recreation centre’ where everyone comes to join together". The new community is called 'Suktawesapmangkong', "from 'suktawe', meaning 'happier', and 'sapmangkong', which signifies the security from saving something of what you earn", explains Sakda Pornrangsri . "We were able to build the houses", he continues, "without having to take out a loan with high interest.  Someone does the cooking for all, and even the children participate during the weekend". "Still today, at the group home, we take turns doing the cooking for each other.  When we return from the sea, we distribute what we did not sell to our neighbour". "Some", Prachuck says, "say we are stupid not to stay in the houses provided by the government. But we are very proud that we have not only built our own homes, but we are building a close-knit community".


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See also
02/04/2008 INDIA
The Church will rise stronger from the ashes of Orissa
by Card. Telesphore Toppo*
06/03/2008 ISRAEL
UN and United States decry new homes in east Jerusalem
12/23/2005 SRI LANKA
Tsunami emergency over but housing remains priority
04/14/2006 INDONESIA
Tsunami survivors ditch aid agency
03/11/2006 THAILAND
New Tsunami alarm
by Weena Kowitwanij

Editor's choices
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"Stop! I am asking you with all my heart. Stop!" says pope as he speaks out on the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine He mentions children, victims of war, "from whom we take away the hope for a decent life," urging the parties to address "every diatribe with the tenacity of dialogue and negotiation and the power of reconciliation". As tomorrow marks 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War, "a day of mourning," we should learn the lessons of history. The Gospel makes us know the true Jesus, the living Jesus, who speaks to the heart and is a life changer as he was for Saint Francis of Assisi. "The joy of finding the treasure of the Kingdom of God comes through, can be seen. Christians cannot hide their faith."
IRAQ - VATICAN
Saddened by "the timidity of the civilised world," Baghdad patriarch's heart bleeding "for the innocent in Iraq, Syria and Gaza" "Forget us not!" says Mar Louis Sako in a message to Card Barbarin on the occasion of the march of solidarity with Iraqi Christians, held today in Lyon.
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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