Thailand July Update by  Cameron Egan

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Yesterday was our last full day with the kids. The previous morning we had 20 cubic meters of gravel brought to the school to fill potholes in the road, within twenty minutes our amazing team had finished. We have been blessed with the most diverse, understanding, incredible team, the trip wouldn’t be the same without them. After the road was finished some of our team began to prep the wall for the mural. Sky blue paint stood out against the old yellow of the wall surrounding the nursery. While they were doing that the rest of the team prepped for our fun fair, we do this as a special goodbye for the kids. We had face painting, dancing, bubbles, ultimate frisbee, soccer, jump rope, nail painting and a giant parachute. Music blasted throughout the campus as the air filled with bubbles, laughter, and the occasional stray volleyball from the parachute. Then the downpour started, everything was soaked and the kids charged the pavilion. The line for face paint and nail polish tripled and soon paint was everywhere. While it was chaotic, it was amazing to see these kids beam over a thing such as simple as the Myanmar flag and glitter plastered on their arms or face. The children loved the American music, it was mostly hip-hop and pop songs that had a great beat so everyone could enjoy it, music like love has no language barrier.

For the past couple of days, as previously mentioned in my last blog, we have started an English camp. It went amazingly well, the kids have learned so much and as their English teacher Sophie has said, it will benefit them in the long run being bilingual while looking for jobs. Some of the lessons taught were music and the genres of music taught by Fatima, the planets taught by Summer, the continents taught by Skyler and Kennedy, flowers taught by Dani and introductions taught by Francisco. While not all of the lessons were mentioned here I assure you they were all amazing and so well thought out by our team.

Today we headed west, or at least I think it was west without the mountains here it’s hard to tell direction, to a tree plantation. We planted trees with Thai, Burmese and Moken students. The plantation was huge, there was around 500 trees. As we ran around holding hands with the kids, seawater, mud, and crabs surrounded us. The Mangrove trees are the only trees that can survive in sea water due to the filtration system in their long roots (wikipedia probably knows more about it that me, look it up it’s really interesting). The Mangrove trees have been destroyed along the Thai coast due to resorts and maybe because they may still be recovering from the tsunami. The goal of this plantation is to grow them and replenish the population.

As I said at the beginning of this blog, yesterday was our last day with most of the children, we will see some tomorrow because of the soccer game and closing ceremonies, however we will not see the majority of the children again. I think I speak for all of the team in saying that we absolutely fell in love with these children. They are so positive and it was so incredible to make connections and friendships with them. The most meaningful thing to all of us on the trip was to see those kids and play with them and walk away at the end of the day covered in kisses, drowning in hugs, and literally having so many little gifts from them that we couldn’t hold them all. When we leave on Tuesday night I will be leaving a part of my heart in Thailand for these children, they taught us more about love and compassion and humility than we have taught them. I am so grateful for these kids, my team, our amazing mentors and this incredible country. Our hearts are filled with love, even thought that is cliche to say because everyone says that on their humanitarian trips, but I think it rings true with Youthlinc’s Thailand July team. I’m excited to see what our last few days hold for us.