From the moment we got off the plane with our kankles and the humidity, Thailand was an instant hit. What a beautiful place are are so fortunate to be in. The first place we stopped by was Home & Life, an orphanage and home to 26 kids. They fed us quite the meal, and we played a good game of futbol. Then we were headed off to our new home for the following 10 days.
Our average day in Thailand is waking up at 6:30am to be at breakfast by 7, then we head off to the Burmese Learning Center where we have been completing not only many construction projects as well as teaching the children English. Our construction projects have included painting murals, building a fence, putting in and constructing the playground, and building a new bathroom from the ground up. The English side of things have included each individual of our team teaching five different classes on some of the most prevalent things. Everyone had to create their own lesson plan, as well as follow through teaching it. Our team has had the most wonderful time getting to know the kids at the school as well as our team. The Burmese Learning Center gives the opportunity to educate 40 migrant Burmese children who are living in the Kuraburi area. The kids range from nursery age to 12 or 13 years old. They have been such a joy to work with and play with!
On the tourist side of things we have gone to the beach of the Andaman sea and it was gorgeous! The water on our feet was so warm and it was pouring rain. We then hopped on the buses and headed to a river in the jungle with a rope swing! The brave jumped off the swing into the freezing cold water. Nearing the end of our rope swing adventure, Dave Baugh, our team leader, took one for the team and injured himself on the rope swing. Linda Frenette, our nurse, and Dave headed to the hospital in Kuraburi to find out that he had broken his finger in 3 places that connected like a Z. Dave and Linda headed to the hospital in Phucket to see a specialist hand doctor. Come to find out he received a 3 hour surgery and is now the only member of the team to have a permanent Thai souvenir for the rest of his life! He now has a Thai pin in his finger and wire wrapped around. He has been a tough cookie and our team has thought of him lots and we all do it for Dave! Also, our super fantastic in-country coordinator, Brad, was so thoughtful in arranging a little celebration for the 4th of July and a member of our teams birthday. We were able to enjoy a delicious red white and blue chocolate cake and see the most amazing firework show of our lives!! It was the closest we have ever been to the fireworks and they were so loud and beautiful! It was seriously a highlight never to forget!
Parts of our team has been splitting up and going in many directions during the day. Some stay to teach English lessons or do construction projects at the school. Others leave and go to the medical clinic with Linda and help teach the nurses English medical terms for when patients who only speak English can be helped. They are very fast learners and are eager to be learning English and help future patients. They work hard and take many notes to get it right. Some of them know more English than others, but they all are so passionate about wanting to know more and are the nicest people you meet. Then more of our team goes to a Burmese temple and help the women there learn to sew and make magazine necklaces that they can sell for a profit. This is headed by our business committee and the June team had already taught the women there to sew and they caught on so quickly! They have already begun to make dresses for the girls on our team. They have such a desire to learn this skill and are so appreciative of our help. The young girls love to make the necklaces and when they finish them we all cheer and it is such an amazing thing to watch them.
Also, the last part of our time has had the chance to participate in cultural conversations with Burmese men and women. It has been an incredible experience to hear what their daily lives are like, occupations, and what they enjoy doing. They were curious to know why we want to be here in Thailand, which we explained to them. As well as their perception of America and our culture.
Crazy how fast this trip is going by! We absolutely love being here and the experiences we are having. It is truly a humbling experience in which we see how people live around the world. It has made us extremely grateful for the life we have in the United States and the luxuries we enjoy. The people here live in such poverty but are so happy and just amazing people! We love being here with them and having this opportunity to serve them and make their lives better! Swadeecah! (Goodbye)