There is a place you check out before you read this, it is http://www.volunteers-without-borders.org/ These lovely people take volunteers for any and every project under the sun, and they will take as much or as little time as you are able to give them in terms of time and experience level. And a little goes a long way.
On a recent trip to Thailand with family and friends we volunteered for two of Volunteers without borders’ projects. This was our experience….
We divided our group of 17 into roughly half, half went to a school in a small nearby town to teach english, meet the local children and assist the local teacher. They brought, games, school supplies and teaching curriculums. With not a teacher among they were excited nervous, and totally unsure of what to expect. Once arrived at the school all nerves evaporated and by the end of the day I gather nobody wanted to leave, the volunteers or the children. I hear it was an amazing experience, however since I was in the other half of the group, I will have to tell you about my own experience… down on the farm.
Our day started early, Richard Casswell (our Volunteers without Borders contact) picked us up in Chaing Mai at 7:00am and we drove to a local farm. This wasn’t just any old farm though; it was a model of sustainable agriculture being built by the local farmers with help from volunteers without borders. Once arrived at this local farming project we met, who else… locals!
These lovely folks started the day by giving us a traditional Thai blessing. this blessing similar to one given by monks at a temple is a simple band of white string tied around the wrist. You are supposed to leave it on until it falls off. 8 weeks later and mine is still attached, I think I might be buried with it. Graeme thinks I’m just REALLY blessed.
Then it was time to do what we came to do, build a Mushroom Barn!
How many engineers does it take to build a mushroom barn?
And sunscreen re-application was a full time job in nearly 50 degree heat.
So off we went for a thai cooking class, (I use the term we here loosely, I may have sat and drank beer with a few other smarty pants types during the cooking class) to cook ‘our’ very own thai dinner. A smashing success.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.