Friday, April 6, 2007
This is the front of the primary school that I will be working with. The school has about three hundred kids from kindergarten to sixth grade. There is a staff of about ten and that includes the principal. The staff here are overworked and obviously understaffed, but it is remarkable to see how dedicated the staff is to the school. This month I will be planning with my co-teacher and creating an EFL curriculum for grades 4 and 5. We will also be setting up a classroom for the students because last year they were learning in an outside room. The school is really lacking supplies, such as computers, a copy machine, and text books. It will be challenging to see if we can fund raise money, but even if we can get the funds where should the money be delegated to is the question.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Although my days are pretty uneventful, when living in a village where no one knows English every interaction is a challenge. I am pretty much living in the Bakersfield of Thailand. My village is pretty small but the houses are beautiful. The place is super rustic; Nothing but farmland and small shacks that sell basic goods. My city is called Huenta Lang and it is about an hour and a half from the main city of Korat. The major attaraction here is a Wat or a temple which is constantly playing Issan music (Issan is a region that I am living in.) The people here are kind and its really fun learning Thai while trying to integrate into the community. Right now the schools are on summer vacation and most of the teachers are going out of town. Because of a thirty rule in site policy I have to stay at my site for thirty days before leaving my village. Although the policy is tedious it does force volunteers to interact with community members that you might not have a chance to get to know.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Today I finally got to my site, Quanta Lang. For the last couple days I have been in the city of Korat, which is about an hour and a half from my site. This morning I took my last gulp of English television and took off to Quanta Lang. Since I had came to Quanta Lang last month I new what to expect, but I must say it is quite a different feeling when I realized that this would be my home for the next two years. My last visit consisted of meeting after meeting after meeting. I usually went to bed with a headache and wondered how I was going to get through the next day. Today was much more relaxing and not as overwhelming.
I was welcomed into the town with a welcome ceremony called "Bi Sea." The students did traditional Issan dances and played Issan music. I was then introduced into the community with a ceremony that consisted of members of the community tying strings around my wrist while a monk chanted. One of the English teachers translated that one of the purposes of the ceremony is to recognize that although I am present in body my mind my spirit still remains in America. The ceremony is trying to bring both my mind and spirit into Thailand.
If you have not known already I have been in Thailand doing the Peace Corps. I started my Blogg a little late so I decided a good point to start would be the day I finally swore in as a volunteer. Because Peace Corps Thailand is celebrating its 45 years in Thailand this year our group, 119, swearing-in ceremony was very special. In addition to having the honor of the princess attending our swearing in, currently serving volunteers and returning volunteers also attended the celebration. The program included several speakers and slideshows that elaborated on how Peace Corps has contributed to Thailand and the culture exchange that has taken place over the past fifty years. Being in a room with over a hundred currently serving volunteers, returning volunteers, ambassadors, and the princess of Thailand, it really hit me how amazing Peace Corps is. I felt really lucky to have the opportunity to be part of such an organization and wondered why more Americans do not take advantage of such opportunities. I realized that the next two years will be filled with highs and lows, but I realize that with each obstacle that is overcome the more I appreciate being a volunteer.
Probably the best part of being in the ceremony was the fabulous outfits that we got to wear. If you did not know, banana yellow is suppose to be really in this year. Thankfully I am ahead of the game.