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Maha Ja Rit, the senior monk at the Plai Laem temple is a man who knows how to make a difference to lives here in Koh Samui.
Originally from Maeman Maha Ja Rit has been a monk for nineteen years and took over as head monk, in Plai Laem, when the previous head monk died four years ago. Since he arrived at the Wat he has made a lot of positive changes and improvements to the temple, including the addition of new gardens and renovating the main temple building that has now been ‘pigeon proofed’ after suffering a lot of damage from the birds. A new building is currently under construction and there are plans in place for a new car park. There are many rules and laws about how donated funds can be allocated in the Wat so Maha Ja Rit plans carefully.
As well as taking care of the temple, along with the six other resident monks, Maha Ja Rit is the founder of the Wat Plai Laem Rescue team. The team has five full time members of staff and over thirty volunteers who respond to emergency situations in and around the Plai Leam area. The team are on call 24 hours a day to respond to any sort of emergency situation, common are motorbike accidents, car accidents, heart attacks and illness as well as a myriad of other situations where people in the area require help. This highly trained first response team has saved countless lives during the four months they have been operating and hope to continue to do so in the future.
The temple has a dedicated response office with radios they use to communicate with each other as well as report accident and incidents to a centralized office in Surat Thai. Each incident is also carefully logged and entered into a manifest kept in the office.
Although this caring organization have support from the Bangkok Samui Hospital, Thai International Hospital and the Samui International Hospital, support from the local community that they are supporting is essential. The rescue car that goes out to emergencies was donated by Maha Ja Rit, who has high hopes, that with community support, he will be able to provide a second emergency response vehicle next year. Maha Ja Rit pointed out that the more life saving equipment and supplies they have, the more help and life saving treatment they can give.
The team has responded to twenty eight incidents in February alone and two hundred and fifty four since they became operational. Of course not every response has had a positive outcome but it is without a doubt that some of the positive outcomes would certainly not come about without the vital help that is being offered.
If you would like to lend your help and support then please make a donation at either the Plai Laem or the Big Buddha temple or consider lending your time a volunteer. Maha Ja Rit is an incredible man, who has a huge heart and is very friendly and approachable, he also speaks fantastic English, so if Thai is not your strong point, you certainly won’t have any problems with communication.
If you find yourself in need of assistance, witness an accident, or see anybody requiring attention in the Plai Laem area you can call the rescue team on 077 417 112 or 087 888 9944. Keep a note of these numbers in case you need them. There is an information centre on the right as you drive into the temple where you can normally find Maha Ja Rit, the main office can be found at the back of the temple, close to the building that is under construction and to find the rescue head quarters you need to walk out of the rear of the temple and cross the road, the office is to the right of the land in front of Pureshore next to the police office that is staffed by very friendly officers who are happy to lend a hand in any situation.