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Rescued Thai Boys To Be Ordained As Novice Buddhist Monks

Two weeks after their dramatic rescue from a cave in northern Thailand, young members of a Thai soccer team are preparing to be ordained as novice Buddhist monks.

Eleven players on the Wild Boars soccer team had their heads shaved, donned simple white robes and offered prayers on Tuesday at Wat Pha That Doi Wao, a temple in Chiang Rai province, the Associated Press reports.

The boys plan to join local temples as novices for nine days starting on Wednesday, to give thanks for their safety and to honor a volunteer diver who died during the long rescue effort. Their time in the temples will include meditating, praying, and performing charitable deeds.

The main ordination ceremony will take place on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.

The boys’ 25-year-old coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, will be ordained as a monk since he has already lived as a Buddhist novice for a decade.
Eleven members of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach wear white robes  at a Buddhist temple in Thailand's Chiang Rai province on Tuesday. (PANUMAS SANGUANWONG via Getty Images)

Eleven members of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach wear white robes  at a Buddhist temple in Thailand's Chiang Rai province on Tuesday. (PANUMAS SANGUANWONG via Getty Images)

On Tuesday, the Wild Boars team members lit candles and placed sweet drinks and fruit in front of Buddhist statues. Hundreds of well-wishers attended the ceremonies, which were broadcast live on Facebook by local authorities.

“They should spend time in a monastery. It’s for their protection,” Seewad Sompiangjai, grandfather of one of the boys, told the BBC. “It’s like they died but now have been reborn.”

Watch the ordination rituals below.

One of the 12 members of the team, 14-year-old Adul Sam-on, is not participating in the ordination activities because he is Christian. The teen is reportedly attending a church to perform a separate thanksgiving ceremony.

The team became trapped by floods inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in northern Thailand on June 23. Chanthawong and his players, ranging in age from 11 to 16, remained in the cave for over two weeks while an international team of experts planned their rescue.

The complex operation, which captivated many around the world, ended on July 10. Team members were taken to a local hospital and released to their homes last Wednesday.
Buddhist monks cut the hair of members of the Wild Boars soccer team. (PANUMAS SANGUANWONG via Getty Images)

Buddhist monks cut the hair of members of the Wild Boars soccer team. (PANUMAS SANGUANWONG via Getty Images)

Chanthawong reportedly tried to keep his team calm during the long ordeal by teaching them meditation techniques.

Chiang Rai Gov. Parchon Pratsakul told the AP that the players’ mental and physical health is slowly improving. The government has imposed a temporary ban on media speaking to the boys. Violators of the ban could face prosecution under Thailand’s child protection laws, The New York Times reported.

It’s common for males in Thailand, where the dominant religion is Theravada Buddhism, to join a local monastery at some point in their lives. Buddhist families believe the practice helps them accumulate merit and generate good karma, which helps people on the road to enlightenment.
A Buddhist monk bathes the shaved head of a rescued Thai boy on Tuesday. (PANUMAS SANGUANWONG via Getty Images)

A Buddhist monk bathes the shaved head of a rescued Thai boy on Tuesday. (PANUMAS SANGUANWONG via Getty Images)

The rescued boys plan to dedicate the merit they achieve by temporarily entering monkhood to Samarn Gunan, the 38-year-old former Thai navy SEAL who died on July 5 while trying to deliver oxygen tanks to the cave. In Thai culture, getting ordained in honor of a loved one is of the biggest tributes a Buddhist can offer.

“Ordinations are supposed to give us peace of mind,” Sangiemjit Wongsukchan, mother of one of the boys, told the AP. “We can only do this for nine days because then he will have to go back to study and prepare for exams. Back to his normal life.”
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Dozens of people from across the world heard Amelia Earhart and her navigator Freed Noonan radio for help several days after crashing into the Pacific Ocean and becoming stranded on a remote island – contradicting the U.S. Navy’s claim that the duo died shortly after the crash, according to researchers.

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Archaeologists digging in a 400-year-old church in Jamestown, Virginia, have found a headless body that might be that of Sir George Yeardley, one of the first politicians — and slave owners — in the American colonies.

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Headless body might be one of America's 1st politicians



Archaeologists digging in a 400-year-old church in Jamestown, Virginia, have found a headless body that might be that of Sir George Yeardley, one of the first politicians — and slave owners — in the American colonies.

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Cancer seminar Friday focuses on diet

LUMBERTON — A Cancer Conversations webinar has been scheduled for Friday at Southeastern Health's Community Health Education Center.

The webinar's topic will be Eating Well: Nutrition and Cancer Prevention and will take place noon to 1 p.m. at the center in Biggs Park Mall. Registration is recommended and can be made by calling CHEC at 910-671-9393.

The interactive webinar is a service of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and will feature the center's oncology dietitian, Jennifer Spring.

Physician Assistant Catherine Gaines, team lead for Southeastern Health's Patient Navigation Program, said she is excited for the opportunity to work with UNC Lineberger, which offers resources that can be brought into Robeson County thanks to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the support of the University Cancer Research Fund.

"One of the key goals for cancer navigation is to improve access to care, and increase cancer screening rates," Gaines said. "This is an opportunity to broadcast much needed health information and improve health literacy in our county in collaboration with two large university medical centers. We are thrilled to be a part of it."

Jean Sellers is the administrative clinical director for UNC Lineberger's UNC Cancer Network. She consults with cancer centers and hospitals across North Carolina to find cost-effective opportunities to enhance care, like offering free webinars.

"Approximately three out of 10 cancers diagnosed in the United States can be prevented through a combination of diet, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight," Sellers said. "This webinar is for people who are worried about their risk of getting cancer or trying to stay well after treatment. People will find answers they need in language that is easy to understand."

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