In a technology-swamped world, letters from Thailand caves provide human touch

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“I am so happy to see his letter, his handwriting. I’m almost crying,” said mother of a boy trapped in the labyrinthine flooded Tham Luang cave complex of northern Thailand, where they have been trapped for two weeks.

Letters such as these have provoked a surge of emotion from families, who first endured nine long days before their children were found alive and now face an agonizing wait for a dangerous evacuation.

As the world awaits the outcome of a breathtaking rescue operation, it only serves as a reminder that technology may rapidly connect the world but it is the power of the written word that make us human. The message probably gets more poignant when it needs more than just technology to rescue a bunch of innocent boys fighting for dear life.

Notes in the gloom

Dwindling between hope and despair, players from the “Wild Boar” football team wrote short notes in the gloom, reassuring parents and relatives. They even cracked affectionate jokes and expressed hopes of being reunited with their families and friends.

“Love to Mum, Dad and my little brother,” read a note from 15-year-old Phiphat Photi, also known as “Nick”. Despite the chaos, those were all the “sound bytes” the media could collect even as over 1,000 journalists from across the world have descended on northern Thailand to report the story.

The note was handed over to a diver on Friday along with the other letters and released the next morning on the Thai Navy Seal Facebook page.

“If I get out, please can you bring me some grilled pork and vegetables?” wrote Nick. Moving beyond the feeling of resignation, the message only resonated faith of a human kind and a spirit that only humans embody.

It is these scribbles some families cling on to even as some of those rescued have been kept away from their parents due to fear of infection.

‘I love everyone’

Pheerapat, nicknamed “Night”, who turned 16 while trapped underground, had this to say: “I love you, Dad, Mum and my sister. You don’t need to be worried about me. I love everyone”.

Ekkapol Chantawong, the 25-year-old coach of the footballers also sent a letter to the outside world, apologizing to the boys’ parents and thanking everyone for their moral support.

“To all the parents, all the kids are still fine. I promise to take the very best care of the kids,” his note read.

He also took the opportunity to send his love to his own family and added how much “he is looking forward to eating his aunt’s home cooking”.

According to officials, the rescuers may need more than 20 hours, to re-plan and replenish oxygen supplies, to be ready to mount the next mission. Then it will depend on the weather.

While the world prays for the boys to emerge unscathed, their words scribbled on paper are set to endure.

(With agencies inputs)