20 July 2015

Thailand - First and Second Week

Well my first two weeks in Thailand have been very interesting. I have been delayed in uploading my weekly blog as I have been very busy and was ill for some time so I have decided to squeeze both weeks into one blog.

Week One
Temple Tours
After training we observed a few english lessons in the various schools we will be teaching at to better prepare us for classroom teaching, however, due to Visa issues we were off project for the vast majority of week. This provided us with the opportunity to embark on a cultural tour round Thailand. We visited numerous stunning Buddhist temples, one located inside a cliff edge, another inhabited by Monkeys and one on top of a large hill.
Each had it's own unique designs and intricacies which left me with a great appreciation for Thai architecture. It also presented us some great opportunities to view the picturesque scenary Thailand has to offer.

On the weekend a group of us travelled to Phuket and indulged ourselve at a very large shopping centre the night before we ventured to the James Bond islands tour. Although it was very tourist centred, the tour provided some incredible views and we were able to visit a small floating village, home to a Mosque, a school and a floating football pitch. Exploring the small village was a wonderful experience that was unfortunately cut short due to time constraints.

That evening we also visited one of Phuket's famous night markets, where we were surrounded by an overwhelming amount of glorious vendor food and knock off designer products. Just before we left to travel back to base we managed to quickly visit The Big Buddha. Which is exactly what it is, an extremely large Buddha statue on top of a massive mountain that can be seen from far and wide around Phuket.

Week Two
Teaching and Healthcare Project Life
The second week began with a visit to the Camillian Social Centre, a centre that cares and educates children living with disabilities. In Thailand there is a certain stigma attached to being disabled, linked to religious reasons, as it was seen as a form a punishment for previous life sins. On the other hand, attitudes are slowly changing and centres like the Camillian are becoming much more popular and offer a safe haven for the children to feel comfortable and enjoy life.
After observing a couple more lessons, I officially started formal teaching and was able to teach a lesson at Baan Nam Khem school and at CDC (Community Development Centre). Classroom teaching is very different to one on one teaching I was used to in India, as it inevitably boils down to drilling new terms and sayings and hoping that the children are able to remember what they are taught. Although it is very different, when all goes to plan, classroom teaching can also be extremely rewarding as you are able to meet such a range of children and allow for more pupil interactive teaching. Due to illness I had to miss a couple of days of teaching but I was able to visit Baan Tam Namchai, an orphanage where we conduct english lessons with the children and improve their English through social interactions. They are some of the cutest children I have ever seen and will hopefully upload more pictures in future blog posts. 
The week ended with a special Friday project at a muslim school Baan Bang Tip. This was the first time the team were teaching at this school and we were given to opportunity to conduct some english classes and play sports with the children. It was a lovely way to end the week as the children were incredibly well behaved and truly passionate about learning a new language.

We opted to have a very chilled weekend this weekend as it has been rather full on and it marks my halfway point in my planned GVI travels, so we spent our time relaxing by a pool and exploring the beaches of a nearby island. I am hoping to get back on track with my regular blog posts next week as the projects seem to be running as normal again.

Luke T.

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