December: The Month of Giving
2016 is closing with an outpouring of goodwill from CMIRC members and friends of the club. Our first members meeting of December featured guitar maker Frank Muller, whose presentation on classical, folk, and electric guitar making enthralled us in our near-capacity meeting room at Hong Kong Lucky Restaurant on Dec. 6th. In addition to an assortment of guitars, including a rare eight-stringed acoustic beauty, Frank exhibited the various parts, pieces, and tools needed to create the instruments. Thanks goes out to Colin Jarvis for introducing Frank's talents to CMIRC.
Along with our guest speaker, we also had two visiting Rotarians from the Philippines, Lindon See Diet and Chris Mah; prospective new CMIRC member Bill Kip; and returning guests Mary and Steve Hambley from Australia. 
In service projects news, Water Safety Program champion John Schorr announced that more than 300 Chiang Mai kids from eight schools have completed the 15- hour drown proofing course, with three more classes scheduled for spring, 2017 (where does the time go?) Also, Cindy Johnson, who teaches at Asia Pacific International School, asked project champions if they'd be available to talk to her business students around January 16-20, 2017. More details to follow.
Finally, in Happy Baht News, Maliwan Kaew-Amphai was glad to have visited Hanoi, but sad to have been hit by a motorbike, Frank Muller was relieved to have recovered from his own motorbike accident (which prevented him from visiting the club earlier in the year), Raelene and David Haines were looking forward to hosting their daughter for a couple of weeks, and sergeant-at-arms Bill Mason was sporting a new wedding ring - congratulations!

Frank Muller had feet tapping as he demonstrated the opening chords of Dire Straits' "Sultans of Swing" on a classic Fender Stratocaster electric guitar.
DG Lindon See Diet from the Rotary Club of Dipolog in the Philippines exchanged banners with CMIRC president Shana Kongmun.
The Children's Water Safety Project teaches non-swimmers how to survive, and by the end of the 15 hour course, thrive in the water.
CMIRC Children's Sight Project members returned to the first school we visited in Mae Taeng almost a year ago (looks like the photographer needs his vision checked).
Imelda Tibbott contemplates defeat yet again as darts soar in the background at the Ban K. Kee Patient House. CMIRC supports the house with donations of food, clothing, money for repairs, and, most importantly, members time with the kids. However, Ban K. Kee House founder Kanchana Thornton has asked us to limit the number of members visiting to four, and maybe five tops, unless there's a special occasion. Too many outsiders overwhelm the staff and patients. Contact project champions Karl & Jeannie Wells if you are interested in visiting.
CMIRC must pay all member dues at the beginning of each year, whether the members have paid or not. So if we don't pay our dues, our projects suffer. Please see treasurer John Schorr at Tueday's meeting if you haven't paid yet.
The club has a chance to "create some wealth" Feb. 4th at the JJ Market flea sale, so members are encouraged to start gathering saleable items for this fun event. CMIRC netted nearly 14,000 baht last year, which all went to support our projects. With the cancellation of the hot air balloon festival fundraiser this year, we need to find income from other sources in 2017!
Founder of Jen's House to address CMIRC
Coleen Scott launched Jen's House in 2003 to help Karen hill tribe kids living in remote villages with no high schools continue their education. The boarding facility allows these children to attend high school and often go on to college. Coleen will tell us more about the house at our December 20 meeting.
Winter Clothing Drive Spreads the Warmth
PP Joe Evans outdid himself with the amount of clothing he and the club gathered for distribution to needy people in the chilly hills of northern Thailand. Mounds of donated clothing filled the carport in front of Joe's townhouse before we delivered it to Shan hill tribe villages near the Burmese border, to migrant-worker shanty-towns in the hills outside of Chiang Mai, and to patients and caretakers at the Ban K. Kee Patient House here in the city.
CMIRC PP Joe Evans and Ursula von Oertzen delivered clothing, toys, and blankets to migrant workers living in tin shacks in the hills around Chiang Mai.
Idyllic scene from a Shan refugee camp in Piang Luang, a couple of kilometers from the Burmese Border. The 400 folks living here can leave the camp to work in the day time, but must return each night. Temps hit 11 degrees in the early, misty morning while we were there.
"What the heck is this thing?" The children of migrant workers search through clothes donated by the caring people of Chiang Mai.

Children weren't the only ones getting swag this year. A caretaker at the Ban K. Kee Patient House found a blast from the past t-shirt, and CMIRC members Imelda Tibbott (right), and Maliwan Kaew-Amphai (left), helped him show it off.

Women at the Ban K. Kee House found much to be happy about in the bags of clothing CMIRC members brought them. What's Tom Johnson doing back there in the women's lingerie department?

Mike Lake delivered clothing and  "One World Play" indestructible soccer balls to two villages and a refugee camp just outside of Piang Luang, about five hours north of Chiang Mai. That's headman Sai Leng behind the boy in the blue hoodie. Thanks to Sallo Polak of Philanthropy Connections for arranging this wonderful trip for us.
Ho Ho Ho! Santa Visits the Ban K. Kee Patient House
Thanks to a surprise visit from Santa Claus, smiles abounded throughout the Ban K. Kee Patient House Dec. 14th. This house is where poor children wait with their caretakers for medical treatment in Chiang Mai hospitals. Friends of the club Mary and Steve Hambley filled gift bags with goodies for all the kids and adults at the house, regardless of whether they'd been naughty or nice. The flashing lights on the Santa hats we all wore were almost as a big a hit as the presents everyone cherished. Nights like these make all the hard work Rotarians put in worth it.
Santa got a smile from even the illest of the children at the house, and the moms may have been happiest of all to see their children brighten, if only for a while.
The two ladies who make the house go, Thae Cho and Mi Aye, take a break from their usual house duties to don Santa hats and photograph two of their patients.
Mary Hambley, Santa Claus, and Steve Hambley were the driving forces behind this magical evening at the Ban K. Kee Patient House.
Save the Dates!
Exciting events are coming up in Rotary, more details when time allows:
March 25-26, 2017 Pre-District Conference Mai Sai.
May 12-14, 2017 Joint 6 district Conference with John Germ RI President  Impact Arena, Bangkok.
June 10 - 14, 2017 Rotary International Convention, Atlanta Georgia, U.S.A.  Register at   
July 1, 2017 - Installation of Chiang Mai Area Rotary Presidents, Grand View Hotel.   Times and Details to follow
October 3, 2017 - District Governor's Official Visit to CMIRC