The mother of a South Surrey man whose legacy in Thailand continues to grow is gearing up to share his story at this month’s Baby & Family Fair at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Tara Trompetter said she was asked to speak at the Oct. 26-27 event after inquiring about reserving a booth to promote the latest in a series of children’s books that was inspired by her son, Ben.
“They’re giving me half an hour” on each day, Trompetter told Peace Arch News.
To boot, the event producer, after hearing Ben’s story, also offered Trompetter a prime booth placement – in front of the stage – at a hugely discounted price, she said.
Still in awe of the opportunity, Trompetter was too excited about the upcoming release of the newest Adventures of Winnie Moo book to dwell on how nervous she was about speaking at the fair.
The Adventures of Winnie Moo and the School That Love Built is set to publish on Oct. 20, but is already available at amazon.ca, she noted.
Following on the heels of The Adventures of Winnie Moo in The Land of Smiles, it takes readers along with “adventure puppy” Winnie Moo on the journey of building a school in a small village in rural Thailand.
The actual school, located in Pha Dang Luang, was built in honour of Ben, who died tragically in August 2012, at the age of 27, while cliff-jumping near Pemberton. He had discovered the village during his years working as a travel guide in Thailand, and developed a particular connection with those who call it home.
Following fundraising through the LiveLikeBen Foundation, the 1,000-square-foot, three-classroom project was built in January 2016, and a framed photo of a smiling Ben having his picture taken by a young Thai boy was hung inside, so its students would always be able to put a face to who made it possible.
In the children’s books, Winnie Moo’s character, by no coincidence, strongly resembles the family pet of series authors, Niki and Alex Sinsawas.
Earlier this month, the couple returned to the school – with the real Winnie Moo – to share the newest book with the young students.
“We all got very emotional when we saw how happy these kids were at seeing their school in a children’s book,” Trompetter said in an Oct. 6 email, after seeing a video of the reaction.
“It was a serious tear jerker for me.”
Proceeds from the sale of the children’s books will, through the foundation, benefit other projects in Thailand, including one that is currently underway to bring electricity to the Pong Naam Ron village.
Trompetter is also continuing to sell traditional hill-tribe bags that were hand-sewn by the women of Pha Dang Luang. Those proceeds will be directed – following a request by the chief’s wife – to the purchase of blankets for the families in the village, she said.