The 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a Thailand cave were finally able to reach out to their loved ones after two weeks of being apart.
Handwritten notes from the boys, who range in age from 11 to 16, assured their parents they were doing well, but eager to evacuate the flooded Tham Luang Nang Non cave system.
Parents waiting outside the cave were able to respond almost immediately, while others not on site will be able to write back at a later time.
“Don’t worry, everybody is healthy,” one letter said, according to an image of the note posted online by the Thai navy SEALs.
The dispatch was written in bullet-point form and as a group.
“We really want to go out and eat so many types of food,” it said. “When we get out, we want to go home right away.
“Teacher, don’t give us a lot of homework,” it concluded.
Many of the boys were looking forward to the meals they would enjoy once they made it out of the cave.
“Mom, Dad, Don’t worry, I’m OK, please tell brother Yod to prepare to take me to eat fried chicken. Love you,” a boy named Tun wrote.
“Mom, Dad, Nick loves both of you and younger sibling too. If I can get out, Mom, Dad, take me to eat moo kata,” Nick, a soccer player, asked.
Moo kata is a dish that combines Korean barbecue and Chinese hotpot.
But Nick’s parents were more preoccupied with getting their son back.
“We’ve been waiting and still waiting to meet you,” they wrote to him.
“Don’t worry, I’m happy,” a boy named Tee wrote. “I love Dad, Mom, younger sibling and family.”
Others reassured their parents that there was nothing to worry about.
“Tle misses Dad and Mom,” a boy named Tle wrote. “Really misses Wubwab too. Love Dad and Mom very much. Don't worry about Tle. I can take care of myself.”
Tle’s parents replied: “We have been waiting for you all to come out. We, your mom and dad don't feel mad at what you have done. Now just take care of yourself as it's really damp and cold there. I'm a bit worried but I know we will meet soon. We are still waiting to see you again soon.”
“Mom, are you OK at home? Stay at home,” a boy named Mark wrote. “I’m OK. Please tell my teacher too.”
He ended his note saying he loved his mom, or Numhom, which means “perfume” in Thai and may be her nickname.
“We are still waiting for you at the cave entrance,” his mother replied. “Please don’t be so down being there. We are waiting. Take care.”
“Now, don’t worry about us anymore,” a boy named Adul wrote. “I miss everybody. I really need to go back home.”
Adul’s parents responded: “We really want to see you and we've been praying for you and all of your friends everyday hoping to meet you all so soon. And on the day that you all are rescued, I want you to say thank you to everyone involved in. Please believe in God and don't be worried. We'll be here till we meet.”
They included a note for the boys’ coach, writing: “And for the coach, Ake, I want to say big thank you to you as you have devoted yourself in taking care of the kids. And I want you to be strong fighting against this hard time. I'm also waiting to bring you back home and to your loving family.”
A boy named Note kept his letter to his family short, but made sure to reassure them that he was fine.
“I'm OK, don't worry. I love Dad and Mom and everybody,” Note wrote.
“We are here for you, and we just want you know that you have to take care of yourself,” Note’s parents replied. “We really miss you. And please tell the coach we don't blame him and don't feel any guilty.”
A boy named Pong also put his best foot forward in an effort to comfort his family.
“Love you Mom and Dad, don't worry, I'm safe already. Love to everybody,” he wrote.
“We are here waiting at the outside,” his parents wrote back. “Just be strong and take care of yourself well. We are here to give you a warm welcome hug. And we also want to say thank you to your coach for being so supportive taking care of the 12 kids. So don't be so worried.”
Mick, another boy trapped in the cave, wrote: “Don't worry. I miss everybody, Grandfather, Auntie, Mom, Dad and brothers. I love everybody. I'm happy in here. The SEALs take really good care of me. I love everybody.”
Mick’s grandfather replied: “I want Coach Eak to strengthen his physically and mentally weak health soon. I'm still waiting in front of the entrance. For Mick, I hope you have good health there and don't feel so down as nobody here blames you.”
The group disappeared while exploring the cave after a soccer game on June 23 and was well aware of the time that passed since they had last been seen.
“I’m fine, but the weather is quite cold,” a boy named Dom wrote. “But don’t worry. But don’t forget my birthday.”
His birthday was on July 3.
Another boy may have also missed his birthday while trapped in the cave, the letters suggested.
“We just want you to know that we are waiting to have a birthday party with you, my son,” parents wrote to their son, Night. “So please take care of yourself and we'll celebrate together. Don't be so worried. Now we are all here together with your grandparents and your cousins waiting for you. We love you.”
Night had first written: “Night loves Dad and Mom. Don't worry about Night. Night loves everybody.”
“Don’t worry, Dad, Mom, Bew has just disappeared for only two weeks, I will go back and help Mom to sell every time I have a free day,” a boy named Bew wrote. “I will rush to go back.”
But Bew’s parents were most concerned with their son’s well-being.
“We miss you,” they wrote back. “Love you as always.”
The boys’ soccer coach, Akkapol Chanthawong, also wrote a letter to their parents apologizing for what happened and vowing to keep them safe.
“All the kids are fine,” he wrote. “There are people taking really good care of them. I promise I will take care of the children the best I can. Thank you for your support. I'm really sorry to the parents.”
The boys’ parents responded to Akkapol, writing: “Dear Coach, Ake, We, as your soccer team member's parents believe in you and your spirit that you've been taking a good care of our kids.
“We just want you to know that this is not your fault,” they continued. “We all here don't blame you and just want you to not to blame yourself. We all understand all the situations that have happened and we are here supporting you. We appreciate all your loving support and care to our kids. We are waiting for the news that you all get back out of the cave safely soon.”
They noted his aunt was waiting for him at the cave’s entrance as well.
“To my aunt and grandmother,” Akkapol wrote. “I’m OK, don't worry about me too much. Take care of your health. Aunt, please tell grandmother to make a vegetable drink and crispy pork when I get out. I will go and eat it. Love to everybody.”
The medic team waiting outside also sent words of reassurance to those in the cave, writing: “We want you to have strong health and mind to be ready for coming back home. And we reassure that we'll take the best care of your parents. We're sure you'll be safe.”