Announcements announcements announcements!
SaWaDiKa (HELLO!) future leaders!
I hope this letter finds you well. I wish we could be sharing these memories and stories with you over some perfect eggs at Woodfield, or coconut milk curry, but instead grab some Thai tea (if you have any left) and think back to Thailand! Right from the get go we jumped right into PadThai, name games, ice breakers, and lesson planning! The cultural experiences started off strong as well, with an all you can eat international buffet, followed by a city walking tour and ending with a cooking class! I forget, who’s Tom Kha soup was rated the most tasty by our local team, Jane and Aom? Was it mine? The cooking class was also the first time we laid eyes on the fish slippers, fish flops!
Speaking of fish – remember the thatched huts at Huay Tung Tao reservoir? Who ended up eating a dancing shrimp?? And that large straw gorilla in the rice paddies? So ridiculous! Ok, bring it back, bring it back.
Your first week of teaching was so impressive and inspirational! From family to health to science and English, you could tell you gave it your all, thank you teacher. English camp was a great way to end the week as teachers, with a clothing relay, animal masks, and peanut butter and jelly sandwich making! Muay Thai, our long awaited Thai massage, and a night time pool party all followed, along with our day to Doi Suthep and the Hmong Village! You know what they say, you haven’t really been to Chiang Mai if you haven’t been to Doi Suthep and walked up all those stairs! Up at the Hmong Village we had our first market time, and Khao Soi, the famous noodle dish from northern Thailand, good thing it wasn’t too spicy! Who remembers our other day in the Hmong village, walking around the steep and hilly community, eating friend rice, and making batik art? The community leader, Mr Yua, was so funny and friendly and loved sharing about the Hmong community in Thailand!
Next came the highlight for many, elephant day at Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Camp!
From picking out our mahoot colorful wool ponchos and stuffing the pockets full of bananas to feeding the elephants bananas and medicine balls, BON BON! My favorite part of elephant day was the mud bath followed by the rinse off in the river, or maybe it was playing with the baby elephant! Another highlight would definitely be the variety of night markets! I loved taking my 100 Baht and finding glazed meat on a stick, pad thai, and a fresh smoothie! Oh and the elephant pants galore!
The service aspect of our 21 days was definitely a highlight as well. The kiddos at Baan Praporn loved hanging out with you, dancing, playing soccer, and the orphanage wide game of Sharks and Minnows! It was awesome to watch you guys work as a team to dig 4 holes for septic tanks! Not a lot of high school students can say they dug 6 foot holes in Thailand all while dancing and laughing to throw back music! Speaking of music, it was s incredible to watch you all perform the hoe down through down at the Regina all girls school! Their hip hop Thai dance infusion was also top notch. I loved watching you all interact while you were painting canvas bags, and the music that was played from the “dj booth” as well. From zip lining, to a pottery and umbrella village, to wood and silver carving, planting rice, and biking and kayaking, this program really did it all!
As international staff, Mark and I really appreciated the effort everyone put into mentor groups, the leadership activities, and being leader of the day! I especially loved facilitating our stories of self, Big talk, and crossing the line! Keep being open and willing to share! It was a pleasure getting to know you all better!
Let me leave you with one last image (a personal favorite:)… mango sticky rice!
Thank you for joining us in Thailand!! I can’t wait to see where your future endeavors and travels take you!! See you next year with GLA yeah? Yeah!
-Lexi Robinson, Mentor