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Volunthai’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 02 Feb 2012

Location: Australia

MapRoslyn Castle, Australia

Just recently I returned from a three-week visit at Ban Pho School in Chaiyaphum Province. I am not sure where to begin in describing my experience as every day I encountered and undertook some amazing (and at times quite surreal) things. I was living with the director of the school and his wife who introduced me to a wide array of Thai food, including ants and crickets which I discovered were rather tasty.

They also took me many places as a tourist, so I got to see much of the surrounding countryside and beyond. I sang karaoke on floating rafts, danced the Macarena, and made it to national TV. I joined a team of ladies playing volleyball and competed in a competition, all the while cheered on (and later I joined the cheering) by people dressed in fancy dress costumes. I gave food to the monks in the morning, went with the family to the temple and was part of the service there, and travelled to a field of sunflowers where people gave food to thousands of monks.

At school I taught English to the different levels and soon became known as "teacher Ros" wherever I went. The students were always happy to see me and I introduced them to catís cradle and of course after my effort with the Macarena taught them that too. I apologize in advance for a new generation of Thai students learning the Macarena. ;-) I played soccer and volleyball with them as well as singing and dancing with many of the little ones. The amount of "teaching" undertaken was not onerous nor did it require a lot of planning, as the studentsí English was very basic and the teachers were always there to help me if I needed. I didn't know any Thai at all before I landed in Thailand but quickly picked up the basics, and was also given a sheet by Volunthai with basic classroom commands. All else failing, charades seemed to make us all laugh and get the idea across.

I would thoroughly recommend becoming a volunteer teacher for a time. Instead of simply passing through as a tourist you get to become part of the Thai culture and give something back. I had an amazing experience and the fact that most times I had no idea what we were about to do made it far more entertaining.