When news hit northern Thailand that a soccer team and their coach were trapped in a cave due to high flooding, many local citizens rushed to the site of the cave to try and help. Mae Bua Chaicheun, a local rice farmer, was amongst those who abandoned her work and rushed to help the boys.
Hundreds of other Thais rushed to the Tham Luang cave complex in order to help find the boys who were stuck in the cave.
Chaicheun volunteered to cook meals for both the Thai soldiers and Navy divers who were working tirelessly to find the children and their coach. As the support system grew and more people arrived to help search, she also cooked for them.
As Chaicheun cooked for the volunteers, Thai military teams began to drain the water from the cave in order to gain access to the inside. It took roughly two weeks for the rescuers to pump nearly 130 million liters of water out of the cave, which ultimately caused flooding down the mountainside.
When Chaicheun finally returned home the week after the boys first went missing she discovered exactly where the pumped-out flood waters were going: Her home and farm fields.
The waters from the cave had completely flooded her fields in Ban Nong O, a small village, wrecking the rice crop she had just planted.
“I’d only just planted the seed not long before I went to the cave as a volunteer,” she stated.
“When I got home the water was two feet deep, and the young plants were flooded,” she added.
Chaicheun said that the entirety of her five acres of land was flooded, leaving her to tend each and every one. Ever since her husband died, she has worked the rice fields on her own, with no help from her two adult children who do not know how to grow rice.
Even though Chaicheun’s crops were completely ruined she said that all she cared about was getting the children out of the cave safely.