By Gabe Mostyn
My husband Andrew & I first met Peter Baines at a conference he was speaking at in 2007. We were so taken by his story we soon arranged to visit Baan Tharn Namchai (BTN) with Pete and from then on we were hooked. Knowing every dollar that was raised by Hands really does go to the kids was the kind of charity we were prepared to support at length.
When we heard about the success of the first Hands fundraising bike ride Andrew signed up for the following ride in 2010. As he had proposed to me the month before the ride we decided to share our nuptials with about 80 of the children and staff from BTN.
Since meeting Peter we have been involved in various Hands Task Force renovations, visited the other Hands homes, three more bike rides for Andrew, attended one of the Social Venture Programs and my first Hands Trek two years ago.
The Trek was THE BEST. Not only because I got to do it with my darling sister Jo and precious friend Jane but our Trek Leaders, Thai porters & guides, and other Trekkers were loads of fun. Jo was the first Hands family member to do an 800km bike ride then back it up with a 100km Trek!
The Trek Itinerary was so well organised. We met at BTN to see the children then continued to Khao Sok National Park to start the hike. The accommodation along the way varied from resort style to water huts and cottages. We even set up camp one night in the rainforest and slept in hammocks. But my favourite experience was our home stay night with a Thai family.
We were advised to pack lightly into bags provided by Hands (along with a team shirt and bamboo socks). The local tour guides carried our bags and provided some of the best Thai food I have ever eaten!
We trekked through rainforests, by rivers, and along stunning beaches. We caught a longboat across a beautiful lake where we stayed in floating huts. Our last night was at an island resort where we celebrated our efforts before walking into BTN the next day.
This last bit of the Trek to be honest was so emotional for all of us. But in true Trek Team spirit we all held hands and walked the last 500 meters together. There was so much excitement from the children cheering us on and running towards us. I’m pretty sure none of us crossed the finish without a sniffle and a tear!!!
For me the Hands Trek was another way to really show my love and support for the Children that Hands continues to care for.