We did a very good thing today!
Social Out Reach at Prateeptum School in Ao Luk
In January I visited Prateeptum School with another staff and wrote about it in mytripblog on 19 January. Today 18 February, about a month later 19 volunteers from both the Community and Marine Conservation, 4 staff and 3 drivers arrived at Prateeptum School with 2 buckets of paint and tools to work on their girls’ and boys’ dorms. Everyone was anxious to get started with work and you can feel the energy all around us.
Covering the doors and windows
We divided our group into 2, one for the girls’ dorm and the other for the boys’ dorm. Justine Bergendahl was a team leader for the boys’ dorm, while Stephanie Robbe for the girls’ dorm. The group went to their dorms and just started working. Some of us have never painted before, so as you can see in the pictures they got paint on themselves as well.
Some of the volunteers were sent to the kitchen to help with food preparation and water. We have more people than work and not everyone can paint, so this seems to work best. What we are doing today is putting the first-under-coat on a brand new building. Some of us did not understand that when we say “under-coat” it means to apply just one thin layer of paint, so they kept painting over and over the area. Anyhow, it turned out fine and everyone was happy to see their finished work.
Our volunteers loves to paint
Our lunch for today: Massamun Chicken, Mixed vegetables with eggs and Rice. We had so much food that many of us went back for second and third helping. The staff and students from Prateeptum School made sure to make us feel welcome with their smiles and ready to supply us with what we needed.
Justin making new friends
We finished with our work earlier than expected and all the volunteers were happy to have some free time at the beach before meeting for our Monthly Dinner at 18:30. All in all everyone was happy to have done a very “good thing” today.
Thank you volunteers for helping with this project.
Kelly brought with her teaching tools to be left with the school once she finish with her project
On The Road Again…
On 4 February I visited Kelly Bennett at The Special Education Center in Krabi Town. Kelly is from England and she works as a Special Education Teacher for the past 10 years. She decided to take some time off from work and travel to Thailand with Projects Abroad. She started her project on 18 January 2011 and is here for 2 months. She will finish her project on 18 March and will do some traveling around Thailand before returning to England.
Just a few students today
I asked Kelly “why did you decide to come to Thailand and work with the special children?” She said “I wanted to help and also take time off from work to do something useful for other children in other country and not just travel”. As I watched her work with her students ages from 7 to 13 years old I could see that she's full of good ideas and confidence in her teaching . Kelly learned some Thai words that she incorporated in her songs. I saw how hard she worked and was so impressed at how she takes control of her class even though she’s only been in Thailand for a few weeks. She did not let the language get in the way of her teaching.
Each student have a "time alone"
The children took to her and they smile and laughed as she sang to them. It was a real experience for me to see how our volunteer such as Kelly full of dedication and love for her work to give up some of her free time just to teach these children.
On behalf of my country…I would like to say “thank you Kelly Bennett for coming to Thailand to help our children who really need your experience and teaching”.
The Temple of Dawn or “Wat Arun”
The Chao Phraya River divide the main land into two section. To the east the main land is called Bangkok or “The city of Angels”. To the west the land is called “Tonburi”. The old city use to be on the “Tonburi” side where Wat Arun is located now. Then they decided to build the city of Bangkok and made it the third capital of Thailand. Many visitors do not know about “Tonburi” but after the city of Ayutthaya fell in 1767, King Taksin flee to “Tonburi” and he use Wat Arun as his place of residence. He arrive in Toburi on October 1767 at sunrise, therefor came the name Wat Arun or “The temple of Dawn”.
The temple was enlarged to house the Emerald Buddha. Rama I and Rama II were responsible for the size of current temple: The main prang is 260 ft high and the circumference of its base 768 ft. In the 19th century King Mongkut or Rama IV added the ornamentation created with broken pieces of porcelain. The monument’s style, derived mainly from Khmer architecture. The temple was design symbolic Hindu-Buddhist cosmology. The central prang or tower is the mythical Mount Meru, and its ornamental tiers are worlds within worlds. The layout of four minor prangs around a central one is a symbolic mandala shape.
The Devaphum (top) is the peak of Mount meru, rising above four subsidiary peaks. It denotes six heavens within seven realms of happiness.
The Tavatimsa Heaven (central section), where all desires are fulfilled, is guarded at the four cardinal points by the Hindu god Indra.
The Traiphum (base) represents 31 realms of existence across the three worlds (Desire, Form, and Form-less) of the Buddhist universe.
Much of the colorful porcelain used to decorate the prangs was donated by local people. The flowers depicted are said to evoke the vegetation of Mount Meru, home of the gods. Decoration of the Four Minor Prangs: Inside the niches of each minor prang are statues of Nayu, the god of wind on horseback.
Small Cove: On the second level of the central prang are many small coves, inside which are kinnari mythological creatures, half bird, half human.
Stairs on the Central Prang: The steep steps represent the difficulties of reaching higher levels of existence. Visitors can climb halfway up when restoration work allows.
Gallery of the Bot: Elsewhere in the temple complex are the usual building found in a wat. This image of the Buddha in the main bot sits above the ashes of devotees.
Chinese Guards: The figures at the entrances to the terrace, compliment the Chinese-style porcelain decorating the prangs.
Today travellers from all over the world come to visit Wat Arun because it reveals a rich history of Thailand that many people may have heard or read about. It also shows how architecture design of the past can still be appreciated by the people of today.
Future Thailand Swim Team to the Olympic Games
On The Road Again…
On 14 January I visited the Poka School in Krabi Province. This school has a swimming pool and Swimming Program for young children. Every Friday at 9:00 AM the children from different schools meet at Poka School for a swimming class. The children that come are kindergarten ages 3 to 7 years old.
Young students from Klonghin Day Care Center with Projects Abroad volunteer...Eva Krarup
Klonghin Day Care Center has been given an opportunity to join the group because the Governor of Krabi gave them support and help. The children from this school are from poor families and because the swimming suits were donated to them, they are allowed to use the swimming pool free of charge. Normally when you use the pool you are charge 20 baht for each visit.
As they kick their little hearts out...
Some of the students are talented. One especially, on the morning of my visit this young boy was told by his swim instructor to swim one lap half the length of the pool width. I was so impressed at how well he swam. I can see him in the Olympic Game some day.
Just adorable students!
As commonly known that most Thai children do not know how to swim. The ones that do are mostly children that live next to the river ,the ocean or those who comes from rich families. The city kids could never afford to go to a private pool unless their parents take them to a private school and they offer swimming classes.
What I saw today made me happy to see that our volunteers are able to be involve in such program as this and to help young people. I hope to visit them again in the near future.
Projects Abroad volunteers who's interested in swimming or take part in this kind of program please be sure to let us know because we could really use you.
Photos can be seen on Projects Abroad Thailand The Official Group on facebook
This is a group picture just of the Kindergarten students
On the Road Again…
On 8 February I visited Nongkok Day Care Center in the Sai Thai District. The school has about 100 student kindergarten to 6th grade. The kindergarten students have two groups one from the Nongkok School while the other group belongs to the District Day Care Center. How you tell which group the students belongs to are the colors of their vest. The orange vest belongs to the District, while the lavender belongs to the School.
The distance of Nongkok School from Projects Abroad Office is about 25 minutes drive. It is very easy to fine once you are familiar with the area because there are large signs on the side of the road. We have two volunteers here... Estella Veldmeijer and Stephanie Robbe.
Estella with her students
Estella is from Holland. She first arrived in Thailand 2 November 2010 and her project ends 1 April 2011. Estella did two projects, one in Teaching and now she's doing Care at Nongkok Day Care Center. Estella is a very young volunteer to come to Thailand for 5 months. When I asked her "why did you choose to come for such a long time?" She said "I rather be doing something useful and I want to travel to countries that I can help". That's so amazing! Since she's been here with us, Estella has proved time and time again to be a "doer" and never afraid to get her hands dirty. I can always count on her help whenever we have our "Social Out Reach" in the community. Needless to say, I call on her a lot. Thank you Estella!
Stephanie with her students
Stephanie Robbe, a volunteer from Brazil also works here and her project time is 3 months. She started her project on 25 November 2010 and will finish on 25 February 2011. Stephanie is so friendly and she makes everyone feel welcome with her warm smiles. She always included everyone, so no one ever feel left out of the group.
I came to know her during our Community Meeting in Krabi Town and the Social Out Reach she helped me with. She's a "Take Charge" kind of volunteer and we love her for that. She loves children that's why she's here in Thailand.
When I first arrived at Nongkok Day Care Center, I could hear that the children were learning their greetings in English. They greeted me when I first walked into the room. They were all excited to have a visitor and it gave them an excuse to not listen to their teachers. Needless to say, it was a challenge for our volunteers to keep them quiet. The children repeated what their teachers said with a very loud voice. I saw that everybody was smiling and having fun.
Regular Students fron Nongkok School
I have heard from Raymond Buechel and he's from Liechtenstein. He also volunteer here at Nongkok Day Care Center and he said "it is one of the best Day Care Center to work at" and today I saw it for myself. He too did 3 months Care project at Nongkok and loved his time here. Now he's in the Marine Conservation Project for 3 more months.
I really enjoyed my time with the children and our volunteers today and thank you Nongkok Staff for allowing me to visit your center.
Photos can be seen on Chane Sutsadang Projects Abroad on facebook.
On the Road Again…
On 7 February I visited the Khlonhin Day Care Center. This school is located on a Mosque’s property and three Muslim teachers working there. The Muslim Leaders allowed the school to be built on a Mosque’s property, so that their young children would have a place to go to school. The school follows Thai Government Education System but they also teach Muslim religion to the children.
The children are in the kindergarten age group and they have a over 40 students. The children love to come to school to play with our volunteers. Right now we have 3 Danish volunteers working here, so the pictures I have to show you will include them.
Eva Krarup with her students
Mari Louise Bertelsen is 20 years old and she’s been volunteering in Thailand since September 2010. Her project ends on 11th February 2011. She’s here with her friend Simon Korshoj. They wanted to do something during their time off from school and decided to come to Thailand with Projects Abroad. Since being here I’ve had the pleasure to get to know them and have enjoyed their friendship very much. Simon’s parents will be arriving in a few days and he and Mari will be traveling with them before returning back to Denmark.
Mari Louise Bertelsen
Eva Krarup is 19 and she’s been at her project since 11 December 2010. She will finish her project on 8 March 2011 and then travel around Thailand and other parts of Asia for a few weeks before returning back to Denmark. Eva is lovely and she has enjoyed her time with the children very much. She has found that even though Thailand seems to have many nice things in the Big city but in the small city like Krabi Town, schools still lack many things that they could really use…like a refrigerator to keep their milk cold for the children. Right now they are using a foam box with ice to keep their milk cold. I guess no one has offered to buy them a refrigerator yet.
Simon Korshoj with his students
In their cafeteria, I saw how worn down their table plastic cover are and I just knew that it is time to replace them. I’ve told Eva that the next time I return to her school I will bring them new table covers and that brought a smile to Eva’s face.
In front of their cafetria
When I spoke to one of the teachers, she mentioned Maaike Reinders…one of Projects Abroad volunteers. She said “Maaike donated play ground set for our children out of her own money right before she finish with her project at their school. She also came back to visit us last year.
"We want to Thank Projects Abroad Recruitment offices for sending volunteers such as Maaike, Eva, Mari and Simon to our school”, then she took my hand and gave it a strong squeeze.
Once again, Projects Abroad volunteers touched lives and I am being told about it. Thank you volunteers for all your hard work and the people here at Klonghin appreciate you for all that you have done for them.
Photos can be seen on Chane Sutsadang Projects Abroad on facebook
Happy Chinese New Year!
In Thailand many people look for special days that they could do special activities or event that would help them succeed or reach their goals by seeking the help from the spirits. Today happens to be Chinese New Year. Sonia and I visited a Buddhist Temple in Krabi town because she's leaving today for Cambodia. Her time with Conservation Thailand has finished.
We headed out to Krabi Town not realizing that today is Chinese New Year and a very good day to do something good like giving food to the monk and visiting a temple. We first stop at the "Morning Market" in Krabi Town to buy some food that we can take to the temple. I had explained to Sonia that many people go to the temples on special days to try to earn merits by giving food or give things that the monks or temple could use. Today we bought food and the blessing we get, our love ones who has passed away will also get it.
As a rule, when you take food you have to have the following: rice, vegetable dish,meat dish,fruits,dessert,water and flowers. Sometimes people also put some money in an envelope to be given as well. Sonia and I had food but did not give any money.
When we first arrived, there was only one woman and she was talking to the Head Monk. They have been waiting for more people to come, so they can start together. By the time we start there were about 7 people. Some people came with gift boxes while most of them came with food.
The Head Monk led us into a prayer and then he joined in with his chanting . The prayers and chanting is so that what we do today our love ones and those we may have wronged would get the blessing from us as well. I told Sonia that we do this ceremony for the dead but I think it is more for the living because we are left behind while the dead knows nothing now. This in only my opinion of course, and not of the Buddhist believers.
Sonia has never done anything like this before, so it was interesting for her to experience. She did say that her time in Thailand has gone rather quickly and now she's heading to Cambodia for another Conservation Project. She's had a fun time with us and we will miss her.
Photos can be seen at Chane Sutsadang Projects Abroad on facebook.
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