Saturday, January 20, 2007

Spring 2005

Thursday, April 14
The After-School Program, Alcorn Middle School, Columbia, S.C., 5:15 p.m. Vasilisa will share some of her favorite poetry with students in observance of National Poetry Week.

Saturday, May 7
Ridgeland Book Club, Ridgeland, S.C., 9 p.m.

Sunday, May 8
"Awareness" with Craig Melvin; WIS TV-10 (NBC affiliate), Columbia, S.C., 10 a.m. Vasilisa is one of the writers who will be featured.

Monday, May 9
Career Awareness Program, Ridgeland Middle School, Ridgeland, S.C., 8:45 a.m.

Traveling in the Kingdom of Thailand

By Vasilisa C. Hamilton

Plush forests in the greenest greens you’ve ever seen. Rich vegetation, plant, and animal life as far as the eye can see. Coconuts, bananas, and other fruits burst from majestic trees that appear tall enough to kiss the edge of the bluest skies, all nourished by the waters in the Gulf of Thailand.

I recently returned from a three-week trip to the Kingdom of Thailand, where I was the guest of Foreign Service Officer Norma E. Brown and her husband, Ibrahim Ramahi. Brown is chief of payroll, training, and outreach for 18,000 federal employees in 59 countries. She is based at the Financial Service Center, U.S. Embassy, Bangkok, Thailand. Ramahi is a security and surveillance expert.

“Bangkok has the sweetest fruits I’ve ever tasted and magnificent flowers in every color of the rainbow,” Vasilisa remarked about Thailand’s capital city.

While in Bangkok, she attended the United States Marine Corps’ 228th birthday ball on Nov. 15, where the guest speaker was Brigadier General Jerry C. McAbee, commanding general, Marine Corps Base Hawaii/Deputy Commanding General III Marine Expeditionary Force, Hawaii. The Marines provide security at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok.

The guest of honor for the evening was Darryl N. Johnson, American Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand, who was accompanied by his wife, Kathleen.

In addition to visiting the U.S. embassy in Bangkok, Vasilisa attended the 60th anniversary festival and parade to commemorate the completion of the River Kwai Bridge, setting of the well-known film, "Bridge on the River Kwai," which featured a boat ride across the river, a train ride over the “Death Railway,” and a tour of the Jeath War Museum, which was established in 1977 to collect various items connected with the construction of the railway by prisoners of war during the second world war. It is called the Jeath museum for the abbreviation of the names of the six countries that were involved: Japan, England, America, Australia, Thailand, and Holland.

Other points of interest in Southeast Asia included a visit to the Bangkok Rose Garden, with its popular elephant rides, colorful musical performances, demonstration of Thai boxing, a traditional Thai wedding ceremony, and other highlights of Thai culture.

Also on Vasilisa’s itinerary was a visit to the golden Grand Palace and the Jim Thompson House. Thompson was an American veteran who helped revive Thailand’s silk industry. He was renowned for the construction of his house, which represented the best in traditional Thai architecture, and his support of initiatives that helped preserve Thailand’s vibrant cultural heritage.

During her stay in Thailand, Vasilisa attended the International Church of Bangkok, where the Rev. Bill Anderson is pastor. The church is located at Bangkok Christian College.

She also visited Beijing, China, the republic’s capital and third-largest city, during her recent trip. Highlights of the Beijing tour included the Great Wall of China, Tinnanmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Friendship Store, the House of Jade, and the Pearl House.

During Vasilisa’s odyssey, members of the Springtown Church family joined her in praying for traveling mercies, thanks be to God.

How Great Thou Art.