In monsoonal Asia, the late dry season is a time of dessicated discomfort. But one thing to be thankful for is the current natural floral show being offered by various types of trees. During late April, one of the most showy species are the Golden Shower Tree (Cassia fistula), with masses and more masses of yellow flowers. Another is the Royal Poinciana or Flamboyant (Delonix regia) which is aflame in orange blossoms. The Golden Shower Tree is native to our area and happens to be Thailand's national tree. Many have been planted along the streets of Chiang Mai. Although the Royal Poinciana is native to Madagascar, it has spread throughout the tropics. They're found all over Chiang Mai. The full bloom Flamboyants in this photo are located on Payap University (Kaew Nawarat campus), across the street from the ECHO Asia Regional Office.
A lot of people are working to bring positive change to communities, societies and the world. But in our business it's sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees. Working with the ECHO Asia Impact Center, I've been blessed with a certain vantage point. It's my goal to shed light on the good and practical that's being done to improve the circumstances of Asia's poor.
My wife, Ellen, and I have spent most of that past 25 years in S.E. Asia. In addition to earning BS and MS degrees in Plant and Soil Science (University of Tennessee), I spent two years (1985-1986) as an agricultural intern at the Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center in the Philippines. Two years after our family moved to Thailand in 1994, we established the Upland Holistic Development Project (www.uhdp.org). UHDP focuses on improving the livelihoods of resource-poor upland families along the Thai-Burma border. Finally in 2009, we opened the ECHO Asia Impact Center in Chiang Mai, extending the presence and efforts of ECHO, based in Ft. Myers, Florida.