July 14, 2017
Sawasdee Kha from Thailand!
After hours of travel across the globe we have arrived in lovely Chiang Mai, smiles still blazing. Since most of us came on the same flight in the morning, we gained a day of fun activities!
We started off by eating some classic but delicious dishes ranging from pad thai, fried rice and curry to the most famous dish only served in the north, khao soi. Full and eager to see where we were, we ventured to Wat Umhong temple in the forest. We explored the ancient tunnels, fed the fish and birds, and were blessed with good luck by a monk who sprayed us with some water.
We’re headed back to home base now for some relaxation (aka, swimming in our fancy pool) and then on to buffet dinner! Thai people always say that there is only one meal a day eaten in Thailand; and it starts when you wake up and ends when you go to bed.
That’s all for now! Looking forward to welcoming Kharra, who arrives in a few days, to our already incredible group!!
July 15, 2017
Our group jumped right in and shared fun facts about ourselves, talked about expectations for this program, ourselves, others and staff and really set the bar high and the tone positive.
Today, we woke everyone up at 7:48 am for breakfast. In the past, the wake up calls have been quite startling so we decided to wake people up with just a knock. It didn’t work as well. We finally got everyone to breakfast and then took off to a pottery village. While we were there, we saw many different potters that specialize in specific pots. One lady was the third generation to make her specific type of pot; she was 68 years old and has been doing it since she was only 10 years old. Her pots only sell for 90 cents and she only makes about 6 dollars a day. The lady seemed very content with her life and continued to have a huge smile on her face. Many of us were shocked at how small the amount of money she makes for how long she works. In the United States, many schools have pottery wheels that we take for granted. These potters were hand spinning the wheel and molding the pot at the same time. After we watched the potters, we gave it a try. Our pots were horrendous. Luckily the potters were there to help and were able to change our lump of clays in beautiful pots.
After visiting the Pottery Village, we went to a restaurant for lunch. I’m not sure how to write it in Thai but it means “the vegetables love you” in English. The restaurant grew its own crops so everything we ate was as fresh as it gets. We had Pad Thai and we went to the ice cream bar.
Right from lunch, we went to the Wildflower home. In case it hasn’t been explained before to you, Wildflower home houses moms and their children. Usually women go here if they are pregnant or have kids and suffered through an abusive relationship. At the Wildflower Home, we are making a pavemented sidewalk between the different housing areas. Working at this home helps me to see how lucky I am to have a family that I can fall back on if something goes wrong. These women don’t have that and that’s why they have to resort to a shelter. Two women who live in the house helped us lift heaving buckets of sand and water. One of them was pregnant and has cerebral palsy. Another had a walking disability. It was amazing to see struggling women work so diligently on a project that they should have no part in building. The pregnant women refused to stop even when we tried sitting her down just for a water break. Thai people work very hard even if the outcome is small.
- Caroline D. and Stephanie
Photo Credit: Jack Guptill
This morning we had a wonderful Monk Chat. Not only this the Monk teach us about the main teachings and principles of Buddhism but also got us thinking. One
Thingthat really resonated with the group was the fact that you do not have to convert to become a Buddhist as well as that there are two kinds of suffering which are mental and physical. Then we took a brief tour of the Wat and had some time to explore the stunning grounds and temples. After going to lunch, we headed back to Wildflower for another day of service there. With the strong suggestion of another volunteer we created an assembly line (Ford would be proud).
July 24th, 2017
Today was our first day teaching. In the morning, when we first got to school, the kids had a ceremony where they played the King’s song while they raised the flag, similar to our pledge of allegiance. After, they had a mass prayer and it was interesting because in America, religion does not mix with public school. But seeing as most Thai people are Buddhist it was nothing unusual. All of us each had to teach two classes with a partner. Some of us taught about animals, colors, foods and many more topics. Teaching was more difficult than we all expected it to be due to the language barrier between us. But after a tiring, but fun, day of teaching, we were all looking forward to coming back. In the afternoon, we went to the “Art in Paradise” museum. A museum consisting of interactive, perspective, illusion paintings. On camera, the paintings appeared to be 3D which allowed us to pose with them and be a part of the art. From the museum we went to an Internet cafe and that was the end of our eventful day.