Sunday, 10 September 2017

2nd Week: Orphanage Effort

Sawadii ka, everyone!

In my second week in Thailand I participated in the program called orphanage effort where we, on one hand,
did construction work and, on the other hand, could teach the children English or play with them. This program took place in two different orphanages/schools.


Before we started this project we got interesting information about the orphanages and the children living there. 95% of them still have parents and obviously are not really orphans.
The reason why they can't stay with their families is, that those kids often come from the hill tribes, which are not officially part of Thailand.
If they would stay there, they wouldn't get registered, wouldn't be Thai citizens and wouldn't get the education and health insurance they need and deserve. In the orphanages every child gets registered and is able to visit school. Both orphanages are home to children from age 5 to 17. They sleep in massive dorm rooms, where always two kids share bed and go to schools which are on the orphanage's grounds.

We asked our coordinator, Eet, what their daily routine looks like and this is what we found out: They get up at 5am everyday and do chores like sweeping the floor or cleaning their rooms, then they have breakfast at 8am.
After breakfast school starts and the get taught until 11am / 11:30am (depends on how old they are) and go straight to lunch. After that they have lunch break where they can play outside or do homework. In the afternoon they go to school again with a few short breaks in between the lessons. Dinner is at 5pm and at 8pm is bed time.

Since we did different things everyday, I'm going to give you a quick summary of this week.


Monday

On Monday we visited the first orphanage with volunteers from teaching and sports coaching as well since that day it was mothers day and school was closed. We were about 50 people there when normally we would've been "only" around 20. Basically all we did was play with the kids that day which was a nice beginning of the week.



We brought balloons and school books with us and handed them out. It didn't take too long until a little girl called Banida, around 7 years old, came up to me, just grabbed my hand, showed me around and wanted to play with the balloons. Soon another girl joined in. Her name is Po. She told me that she's 13 years old and half Thai, half Swedish.
She proudly showed me pictures of her parents on her phone and wanted to see pictures of my family aswell. We even added each other on Facebook, even though I'm sure she doesn't really use it that much, but she insisted.

For lunch we went to a small restaurant on the side of a road where I got Pad Thai and a coke whohoo. They even handed out banana chips which were delicious. They weren't sweet at all but tasted more like the usual potato chips with paprika flavour.

In the afternoon we went back to the orphanage and played with half filled waterballoons. We just threw them around randomly in a big circle. I noticed that a little boy joined the circle next to me but didn't get the balloon for quite some time so I passed it to him the next time I got it. He was so happy about that and wouldn't let go from my hand anymore. That "incidence" showed me that a little gesture goes a long way, especially with children who just seek a little love.
We left the orphanage at around 3 o'clock and went back to Twinhouse where we could do whatever we want.


Tuesday

On Tuesday we changed orphanage and devided into two groups.


One group did construction work where some people built/exdended a wall so that when it rains their laundry place wouldn't get flooded by the river that's right next to the orphanage. Other people painted different flags on the walls.

The other group, the one I was in, went into the classrooms and taught a bit.  It was quite hard actually since the kids can't really speak English besides "you", "my name is" and counting to ten. We tried our best by drawing animals on the white board and having them guess what it is called. They actually knew a few and soon wanted to draw some themselves.




After lunch, at a different restaurant than yesterday, we went to a "tree temple" which was basically a really small temple with trees growing out of and around the walls. After that we didn't go back to the orphanage but went to Twinhouse again.




Wednesday

On Wednesday our car broke so we had to wait almost 2 hours until we could go to the same orphanage as Tuesday.
Since we didn't really have time to start any construction work we just played a bit with the children, who were having their lunch break. We went on the swings with them, on the monkey bars and seesawed which was exhausting, to be honest.

After lunch we went straight to the Singburi mall where we just had a quick look around and a few donuts before we went back to our accommodation.

Like on every Wednesday we had thai BBQ for dinner and after that there was a party at the bar across Twinhouse where almost everyone went to.


Thursday

That day we thankfully got to the orphanage on time.
We, the volunteers, had to wash the children's hair in the morning because pretty much every kid in that orphanage has lice. It's an ongoing thing, since so many children live there, so volunteers have to wash their hair everyweek. For my luck, a girl came up to me and wanted to play with me on the playground so I didn't have to wash anyone's hair that day.

In the afternoon we did crosswords with the kids in school and played again. I did some kind of merry-go-round with a few kids where they even fought about who could stand next to me and hold my hand. The children there even have a special handshake wich means "I love you" when they do it with you.




After Dinner at Twinhouse we went to the big Singburi Tesco Mall where we went to a pizza place to eat something western. Unfortunately the pizza wasn't that good and actually a bit expensive but we got some sort of spinach lasagna as well and that was good.


Friday

 
On Friday we went to the same orphanage we already went to on Monday. For construction work we went to the schools second floor and painted the stairs and floor red-brown. I didn't know that we were going to paint that day so me being me, I ruined my white shirt.


After lunch we went back to the orphanage and watched some sort of school event there. I didn't really get what the point of it was but some children were dressed in traditional thai clothes and were singing, dancing or making an english speech.

In the afternoon most people went to Bangkok again or to the swimming pool but I stayed at Twinhouse with a few friends and we played cards and tried translating each others languages.


Saturday

On Saturday we finally could sleep in again. After breakfast (we had pancakes and fruit) I went to the Singburi mall with a few others where we just looked around.  For lunch we went to a really fancy restaurant where we had a buffet for 319B and could cook our own food in a boiler standing on the table. This turned out to be a disaster since everything tasted really gross, even the sushi. We tried to smuggle our leftovers into a plastic bag in my backpack because the restaurant would have charged usp 50B per 300g leftovers and we obviously didn't want to pay for that.

After that dissapointing meal we tried to find a massage place in the underground mall. Every massage place there was either closed or looked really sketchy so we didn't get a massage there.
We left the Singburi mall to look for a better massage place and luckily we found one quite fast actually. We got massaged for 1 1/2 hours and only had to pay 3€. We all paid 5€ though because the people there were really sweet and offered us free drinks and asked if they could take pictures of us. After the massage we got a few donuts again and went back to Singburi because we had to pack for our next program, which was Hua Hin Beach Combi for me.

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