Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The writing of "The Boy with a Bamboo Heart" - a bookwrap


"The Boy with the Bamboo Heart"

Dr. Amporn Wathanavongs with Chantal Jauvin

How one boy rose from the depths of despair to give life, education and hope to thousands

About the book...

This autobiography is the life story of Dr. Ampon Wathanavongs, a man who ultimately defeats poverty and succeeds in becoming one of Thailand's most respected and treasured philanthropists.  He is the founder of The Foundation for Rehabilitation and Development of Children and Family (FORDEC) and he is lovingly described as the "the foster father of 50,000 kids."

Life starts out very bleak for little Lek, the name given to him by his Thai parents.  He is orphaned at five years old, and as the book begins you find him laying on his shared bed, clinging to his dead mother, who has died during the night.  He is pried away from his beloved mother and witnesses her cremation. Afterwards, the villagers who are caught up in their own poverty and struggles, just walk away from the little guy leaving him to fend for himself  and to try to survive if he can.  What is an abandoned five year old to do?  Where does he go? Heartbroken, he determines to leave the village  behind and move where he knows not!

He spends 12 long years as a street kid, stealing and begging just to keep alive. He is totally illiterate and is forced to live by his wits and intuition with his tummy always empty and wondering where he can tuck himself safely away for a night to be able to sleep. 

He seizes upon an opportunity to become a child soldier in Cambodia where he receives, torturous training, meagre food and experience battling vicious enemies deep in the lush Cambodian jungle. Unable to cope any longer he reaches rock bottom and tries to commit suicide... twice. He ties a rope around his neck the first time, which fails, and then he tries again by drinking insecticide. He just wants the hopelessness and pain to go away. In his darkest moment of despair a stranger intervenes and offers him help and but most of all hope.  

He reassesses his life goals and then accepts the kind offer and in doing so his life changes forever.  He is determined from that moment forward to make something of himself and to find out  what he is created to do in this world.  In his own words:

"Even though I started with nothing, I've always thought that whatever life brings, you must help others, " says Dr. Ampor.  "When you die, you cannot bring anything with you. So knowing that you have helped others because you have received help from others, well, that's enough."

Chantal Jauvin, an international barrister, met Dr. Amporn while visiting one of the children her fiancĂ© had been sponsoring at the charity he founded.  (FORDEC).  After being with him, and being so inspired by his story, she asked Dr. Amporn if she could tell his story.  In her words:

"The world has much need for everyday heroes," says Jauvin, "Dr. Amporn did not set out to be a hero, but he became one by the choices he made in dire situations, and because he cared for something greater than himself.  That is within reach for everybody. Let his story serve as inspiration."

The well-written and riveting pages of The Boy with a Bamboo Heart, will have readers discover:

* the harrowing experiences of children caught in warfare and forced to become soldiers out of necessity

* how the human spirit is resilient and can overcome diversity

*how education is so important in escaping poverty

*why everyone should be empowered to take charge of their lives and find causes to be involved in that are bigger than they are

*how Dr. Amporn has been able to offer hope and courage to the less fortunates of the world, so they have a voice and a life and can find happiness

"Visions become dreams - which so often, no matter how ridiculed, no matter how seemingly impossible from so many angles - have ways of coming true," says Dr. Amporn.  "And dreams are the purview of the poor; they do not cost anything, yet they keep you alive."

Personally, I couldn't put the book down.  The story is one that takes you from despair to joy and invites you to step outside yourself, engage, and offer those who have been defeated help. It inspires you to give back and make a difference, so not only will those lives you touch have a better quality of life but the whole world becomes a happier and better place in which to live. Dr. Amporn is a stellar model of a man with deep faith, unwavering commitment, very unselfish with a brute determination to put himself aside so he can offer hope to the thousands that are rendered hopeless.  I highly, highly recommend this book.  

About there author...

For the first six weeks of her life, Chantal Jauvin had an identical twin. From the time her sister died, her mother told her, “You have the strength of two.” This has been a driving force throughout Chantal’s life.
At the age of 18, her enthusiasm for words won her the Governor General’s Award for top French debater in Canada.
By the time she entered law school, her grandmother had instilled in her: “Life is what you make of it.” Chantal took a year’s sabbatical from her legal studies to work in Japan. The experience grabbed her by the lapels and would not let go. The world became her personal laboratory―a place to discover how people live, love, and grow.
Chantal combined her passion for experiencing other cultures with her pursuit of an international career. She has lived in Mexico, Cambodia, Russia, the U.S., and Austria, taking shorter assignments in Vietnam and pursuing her MBA studies in the UK. She negotiated in Paris, Buenos Aires, and Sao Paulo often enough to almost call these cities home. She has addressed the Central Banks of Spain and South Africa, worked with companies from Ghana to Uzbekistan, and mentored attorneys from Dubai to Mumbai.
Adventure accompanied her global journeys―diving in the Maldives, cycling in Patagonia, skydiving in New Zealand, and riding her motorcycle in the Colorado Rockies. In recent years, she has retreated to Thailand to recharge.
Chantal believes that creativity is the ability to connect dots in a new way. Igniting her lifelong passion for language and other cultures, Chantal has turned her attention to writing in her quest to understand how our souls are touched by the blended world in which we live.
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