Friday, 15 September 2017

5th Week: Orphanage Effort 2.0

Sawadii ka, everyone!

My fifth weeks program was Orphanage Effort, which also was my second weeks program. We stayed the whole week in Sri Udom Orphanage but visited Samakee Orphanage once for a few minutes.
Something that was also different is, that we were not 20+ people anymore but only six this time. On one hand it made things easier because everyone knew exactly what to do and nobody stood around daydreaming, but on the other hand it obviously was harder, since we really had to get work done fast - which obviously is the point of this project so nobody was complaining. 

This week we did much more construction work than in my second week, which I found relatively nice, because taking care of or teaching such young children all day long is hard! We did two main projects: painting the restrooms walls and building a miniature wall. Let's start with Monday. 



Monday

After breakfast we left Twinhouse and went to the orphanage. We then started doing voluntary work by teaching kids english in school.
We handed out work sheets and after everyone was finished we played hangman but with matching drawings, so it was easier to guess. The children also loved taking pictures on our phones, especially the ones with Snapchat filters. 

There was a charity event taking place at the orphanage that day, where a band played songs and people handed out sweets and stuffed animals. We sat there and watched the children sing along and be happy until we went to the restaurant at the road to get lunch.







We had quite a long lunch break at the restaurant so when we got back, we only had 1 1/2 hours left to work.


We repainted the restrooms walls; blue for boys and yellow for girls. It took a few layers, until we couldn't see the green underneath it anymore, but in the end, all that counts is, that we did it.
I'll have to add, that it was 34°C ("feels like 43°C" -Google) that afternoon and the sun was burning when we worked, so it wasn't that fun but as you can see in the picture, it all was worth it.

Back at Twinhouse we had free time so I went to bed again to sleep a bit until dinner. After dinner we played cards and I wrote in my travel-diary.



We went to the bar again in the evening but not for a long time so, as usual, I went to bed pretty early. That's normal here in Thailand for me. I'm always tired, even on the weekends, when we don't really do anything. I guess it's the heat and humidity here, it really doesn't give us energy.


Tuesday

Tuesday morning we taught again in the class with the youngest students, who are five to six years old.
This time the kids had to connect pictures of body parts with the fitting words. When they were finished, one of us corrected the worksheet and showed them how to pronounce the words.

Of course, every volunteer was surrounded by kids shouting "you!", as always, to get attention. We sang "Head and shoulders, knees and toes" and played with them until it was lunch time for them, at 11am.



We followed them to the eating hall and basically just watched them and their lunch ritual which consists of some sort of prayers, getting the meal, bowing as a "thank you", sitting down and saying, or rather shouting in this case, prayers again. 

I then wandered around a bit and took a few pictures, when I noticed that the place, where volunteers built the wall the last time I've been in this orphanage, was completelt flooded by the rain.
Eet, our coordinator, told me, that it would take two months until it was going to be dry again and that that's the reason why the wall needs to be extended even more.

After the kids' lunch time we played outside.



I played a self innovated game with a few girls, where you have to throw little stones in the air and try to catch them all on the back of your hand. We then went to the climbing frame, consisting of old car wheels, where the girls climbed up and jumped in my arms a couple of times.


Later it was time for our lunch break. We went to the same restaurant again and got food.



Back and the orphanage, we finished painting the restroom walls by drawing the male and female signs on there.



Here and there, children came along and helped painting or walked around with their mini fans.


After Dinner at the Twinhouse we all went to the local market where we just looked at the shops and went to an atm. In the evening we were just sitting around in the common area, talked and played cards until we went to bed.


Wednesday 

Today we went to the Samakee orphanage, so that the new volunteers could see it too.
Our coordinator showed them the school floor we painted 3 weeks ago and the walls other volunteers painted the previous week.




We also visited a class room, where Banida, the little girl I spent lots of time with, the last time I was there, recognised me and grabbed my hand right away.  The other volunteers were surrounded by little kids as well and they accompanied us on the way back to the car. 




At the other school we had to wash the girls hair again with anti-lice-shampoo and comb it through. It wasn't the most fun activity but we kept in mind that we were obviously doing it for a good reason - health.


When we finished washing their hair, we played with them a bit outside. Two volunteers brought a bubble machine and the kids were obsessed with it. They had so much fun chasing and trying to pop the bubbles.



After lunch, we spent the afternoon at the local swimming pool, just like every other Wednesday afternoon.



We played waterball, ate ice cream and did all the basic stuff, someone could do at a swimming pool.
For dinner we went to the BBQ restaurant again and after that back to Twinhouse, where there was a party at the Dang bar we went to.



Thursday 

Thursday morning we started to built a "wall" with cement and bricks. That was necessary so that when it rains, the eating hall wouldn't get wet. There already was a proper wall but it had lots of cracks and therefore wasn't waterproof.

It took quite a long time actually since we needed the optimal consistency of the cement-water-mixture so it was neither too dry, nor too runny. 



After our lunch break we went to the school and taught again. This time we handed out a crossword. 



Since they were all finished after a short amount of time (with our help) we then drew animals on the white board and let them guess the names. Their favourite ones were definitely "monkey" and "elephant" which didn't surprise me.












We then played with the kids outside. We did rope skipping, seasawing and swinging which the children loved. They also wanted to show off their skills on the monkey bars and climbed from one end to the other a couple of times, trying not to push someone else off.  


After dinner, back at Twinhouse, we all went to the mall where I topped up my internet. We also bought snacks for the weekend and ate donuts. I was still tired from the party the day before so I went to bed at 8:30pm already to work on the blog and text my friends from home.


Friday

Friday was a short day at the orphanage since two volunteers had to leave after lunch already for their flight home. 




The only construction work we did there that day, was finishing the wall and building a canal for the water place since it was always flooded because the pipes there were leaking. 






Later we handed out balloons to the kids and played with them. One little girl (it looked like she's the youngest from all the kids) was quite sad because she didn't get a second balloon since her first one got taken away by an older kid.
© Laura De Groote
She dragged me around the whole playing area to every other child that had a balloon, pointed at it and kept saying "you" to me. She obviously didn't understand me, when I told her, there were no more balloons left. Luckily Eet came and told her in Thai. We then went to the playground and swung a bit until I had to leave to get food.

For lunch we went to the restaurant on the side of the road one last time and I ordered the same food I got on all the previous days. Noodles with eggs in some sort of soup.

We were the first ones back at Twinhouse this day so there was not much to do except from taking a shower and waiting for the other ones to get back as well. When they did, we mainly talked about our weekend since five of us wanted to go to Ayutthaya. We booked a hostel and packed our stuff so we wouldn't have to do anything else the next morning before we'd leave.

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