Touched by Angels

The Return of Kelly May and Karen Spackman

Kelly May was christened “The Angel of the Andaman” in 2005 for her heroic relief work in the turbulent days following the tsunami. She joined Andaman Discoveries while the organization was still in its infancy, and led the charge in cultivating North Andaman community-based tourism from a concept into an Internationally-lauded reality. The team said a difficult farewell to their matron saint in late 2008; hungry for new challenges, Kelly then went on to manage an eco-resort in Koh Lanta for the high season, and is now focusing her long-term sights on teaching English.

In the meantime, Kelly has returned to Andaman Discoveries to facilitate several upcoming study trips and tackle some critical administrative work. “Kelly May is very special to the organization, and to have her back at this important time is like a gift,” said director Thamrong Chomphusri, who had no apparent qualms about sharing some of her responsibilities for a couple months with her former co-director. “It’s great to be back. The progress that has been made during the past seven months is a testament to the hard work of staff and the villagers. A truly sustainable project shouldn’t be dependent on an individual or outside assistance,” said Kelly of the organization.

We couldn’t be more grateful to Kelly for helping us out and sharing her observations. “During my time with guests in village I witnessed the progress the villagers have made. Hearing the host families welcome guests in English without any prompting and seeing all the homestay houses meeting the standard without AD having to assist is really inspiring. It might seem like little things, but it’s taken four years to get here. Well done team, I’ve missed you!”

Karen Spackman also returned from a two-month leave in her native Scotland this month. Karen joined Andaman Discoveries as a volunteer last year, and quickly ascended to a full-time member of staff. When she’s not illuminating students from the front of a classroom, she’s responsible for volunteer coordination and community relations for Andaman Discoveries. “The Kuraburi community and the AD team made me feel at home from day one. My hope is to stay a year or more. I’d love to become fluent in the Thai language.” Karen said. We’re confident Karen will have little trouble achieving this.

Welcome home, Kelly and Karen! We’re fortunate to have you both.