After 10 years of service in Ranong, on March 15, 2018 we said a special thank you and farewell to Fr Kevin for all his dedication and service as a Marist in supporting the Marist Mission in Ranong with Marist Asia Foundation. Here are his words shared at his farewell ceremony.
Many thanks for this time and opportunity to say goodbye and express my deep gratitude to each one of you.
Daw Aung San Su Kyi once said,
“It is not enough to sit and hope. You have to work in order to realize your hopes.”
13 years ago the Marist community arrived in Ranong. For the first few months the Marists did not do anything except try to listen to the needs and especially the hopes of the Myanmar migrants in Ranong. Two things emerged clearly; the great need for education and the needs of those living and dying with HIV-AIDS.
There were plenty of needs and challenges but also a lot of hopes from children, mothers and fathers.
In one parents’ meeting, a mother stood up and said. “I work very hard mainly cutting the head of the fish. I want my child to be educated. I him to work holding a pen and not holding a knife cutting the head of the fish”.
One HIV-AIDS patient said to Fr John Larsen that without the Marist I am dead already 5 months ago.
I have witnessed so many changes over the past 11 years. Our students have become our teachers and staff.
It is great to see our graduates being the young teachers in many different Learning Centres in Ranong.
We are more confident to wear our uniform with Marist Asia Foundation on it. We are more confident to say I work with Marist Asia Foundation after the government has approved us as a Foundation.
We have 38 ACU Online graduates serving different communities in Thailand and Myanmar.
7 or 8 years ago almost every two weeks, AIDS patients died. But it is very different now. The patients live longer and healthier.
We don’t just sit and hope. We work very hard. Thank you for your hard work Education team and health team Admin team. All of us.
I hope we will be more united, one heart and one mind as we continue responding to the needs of the vulnerable, marginalized and excluded in Ranong.
I hope we will be a shining sign of Hope and Compassion.
I have mixed feelings. I am sad to say goodbye to you and to Ranong. Ranong has been my home for 11 years. You are also my extended family for 11 years. We have many memories and stories we share.
I am also happy to go. It is time to move on. It is time for me to start a new chapter my life. I am happy to go because I believe that MAF is in better shape and we have a more solid team. MAF will be a better organization, more effective and more efficient in responding to the needs of the migrants in Ranong and beyond.
Many thanks everyone. Special thanks to the Marist Community and the RNDM sisters community. Special thanks also to our volunteers.
Thank you very much.