Greetings from Thailand!
We have been tucked away in a small mountain village for the past few days as we have been continuing with our service in the north. Our last hotel was situated in the Lahu village. This village had been awaiting our arrival for six months and gave us such a warm welcome. Our group took down a building that was falling apart that the residents used for meetings and built a new bungalow in its place. The teamwork our group displayed was amazing! Eric was laying the grass roof “shingles” as Sammi was tying the shingles with bamboo strips to enure they would not detach from the frame. Jeremy spent a great deal of time working on the wood posts that would be used as the benches, and Abby worked hard on clearing out the scrap wood and debris. By the end of the day, the village had a brand new structure. We never thought we would be able to build it all in just one day! To thank us, the residents had a bonfire that we sang and danced around. Ali and Hayley H. picked up some new dance moves from the young village girls!
The following day, we spent time with three families in the village. We helped them shuck their rice- Perri was a pro! Then, they opened their doors to us and allowed us to cook a meal over their fire pits. It was an eye opening experience that helped us realize how lucky we are to have our North American conveniences. When we were finished sharing the meal, we spent time planting rice in the villages’ rice patties. Rachel and Jordan may have found a new calling! It was a great day of cultural exchange and learning.
Some of the children in the Lahu village attend the Maesalak School. We spent the following day teaching English to the students. Haley B. has such a knack with small children- you could hear her singing the alphabet song as you walked by her classroom. Lauren K. was working with a small group of children learning the colors of the rainbow, Carly helped another group with body parts, Andy was helping students trace letters in a workbook, and Lauren F. had a small group of students singing along with her. It was amazing to see our trip members cross the language barrier!
Of course, the easiest way to communicate is through fun and games. Becca had a group of students who loved to chase her around, and Meryl was running through the play yard with another group. Georgia made a special friendship with a 7 year old girl who would not leave her side. Our service in this area truly made an impression on our group.
We have now arrived in Chiang Mai. We will finish our time in the north having fun and participating in adventure activities. Stay tuned for another update!
The Westcoast Blogger
Do you want to be part of this community service program? Check out our Thailand trips for students and get ready for the experience of a lifetime with Westcoast Connection.