Thailand July Update by Cameron Egan
It’s safe to say Thailand is gorgeous, not only the scenery but the people as well. I’d like to think that it’s changing all of us, Saturday morning started out as a construction day, we finished up the aquaponic garden, picked up trash, washed fence walls and moved dirt onto foundations so cement could be poured. After we had our lunch and cleaned it up, we had the amazing opportunity to watch a community soccer game, the Burmese vs the Thai. We all enthusiastically watched the game, cheering as the 10 baht double scoop ice cream cones from the ice cream cart melted in our hands and our mouths. After the match was over we climbed into our four vans and returned to the Yama resort. We went swimming, took naps, showers the usual after school activities, but instead of the custom until dinner free time period we only had until 5:30.
We climbed back into the vans and they took us down a small road to an amazing Italian restaurant. After we had our fill of pizza, pasta and lasagna we climbed back into the vans this time we had no clue where we were going, our vans climbed down a small back road for what seemed like 20 minutes and then we pulled up to a beach, we were all rushed out and urged to look up. We didn’t have time to question it until the familiar Fourth of July sounds of fireworks boomed over our heads.
Sunday morning we got to sleep in until 8 because it was our first excursion day, the plan was to visit a Buddhist temple, Tsunami memorial, turtle sanctuary and two waterfalls. Again we started out in the four usual vans and headed down to the temple. We went through this incredible gold and red gate to what looked like a school, as we passed that a giant red and gold temple almost surpassed the height of the trees, Monks wandered around the grounds holding gardening materials, it smelt like burning wood and rain. As we took off our shoes to enter into the little buildings red, gold and the smell of incense hit us in the face. Statues of late monks sat in a row covered in gold leaf paper and old flowers.Walking around the grounds sweat dripped down our noses, I walked into the 50 foot tall temple, the walls smelled of paint and the men were carving out a scene above me, the statue of Buddha sat in the middle of the chaos of construction looking peaceful and at rest.
Next came the Tsunami memorial which was a long outdoor cement wave which stood at how high the wave hit. It was a humbling experience to talk to the gift shop owner and see the pictures from the day after the tsunami hit, amazed at how well Khao Lok had recovered from the disaster that occurred a decade ago.
The sea turtle sanctuary included thousands of fifteen day old turtles, hundreds of two, three, and four month olds and around seventy-five six month olds (they release the six month olds into the ocean if they are healthy enough) there were about fifteen one year olds and ten turtles over three, the oldest ones being around nine years old. The waterfalls were sadly too dangerous to visit, but we ended up going to a river that was 6 feet at the deepest part, then it was off to the market where we had two hours to freely shop around.
Today started off at the school again doing construction, again we scrubbed the walls, we dug trenches so the water could drain properly out of the main drain and today was the first day of English lessons, while 6 groups taught English the vocational committee also had their first lesson teaching the mothers how to sew. The English lessons went incredibly well and the kids loved them and their teachers. The vocational committee stayed two hours after the rest of our group to teach the mothers some more about sewing and they will continue to do that for the rest of the week. It only rained about 10 times today, the bigger downpours were when we got back to the resort. Thailand is amazing and we’re loving every minute of it, our group is becoming closer each day.