3 August 2015

Thailand - Third and Fourth Week

So much for getting back to one blog a week. My final week in Thailand is over and I am already in Laos, sat down for breakfast before I go to my new base for the next four weeks. My time in Thailand went incredibly fast, it's hard to believe that I am already two thirds through my GVI travels.

Project Life
I have to admit that the project work at Thailand has been my favourite so far. Doing Community Combined, meaning I was working on both the healthcare and teaching children projects meant that I was involved in a varied number of activites.
Starting off as something I was initially anxious about, teaching a whole classroom of children rapidly become one of my favourite things as I quickly become much more comfortable and was able to have so much fun interacting with the children. It all comes down to being confident, prepared and flexible. 
All my other time was spent at the Camillian Centre (which I discussed in the previous blog) and at Baan Tam Namchai foundation and orphanage. I quickly formed close bonds with some of the children, as upon the initial meeting they would latch onto you and want to be by your side or picked up all the time. They were all such happy and safe places to be, full of joy and smiles and I will deeply miss them all.

Wan Khao Phansa
We were given a very unique opportunity to attend a nearby temple's Wan Khao Phansa, also known as Buddhist Lent, celebrations and we were inviting to take part. One novice Buddhist monk was kind enough to approach us and explain the proceedings of the evening. I contintued to have an in depth conversation with said monk and was able to learn a lot about his fascinating life. He then demonstrated and allowed us to participate in a classic prayer to Buddha, including the lighting of three incenses, one to Buddha, one to the discipline and one to the monks. The celebrations began with a long passage reading and continued with the lighting of candles and incense sticks before walking around the temple three times. It was incredible to not only witness but also take part in their festival celebrations and it acts as a shining example of how open and accepting the Buddhist culture can be.

Final Weekend
For my final weekend we travelled to Ao Nang, Krabi. Along with enjoying some of the local serene, picturesque beachs, visiting the night market and frequenting a few bars, we visited one more temple, Tiger Cave Temple. The temple is famous for big Buddha statue located 278 metre high and only accessible by a 1,237 stair climb. We aimed to reach the top at sunset and it ended up being one of the most grueling, sweaty and exhausting climbs I have ever done but was so worth it in the end. It provided such picturesque scene and allowed me to put in practise what I was previously taught by the novice-monk and engaged in a traditional prayer.

It was the perfect weekend to end my time in Thailand and left me even more excited to experience more of the Buddhist culture in Laos. Once again I met so many amazing people in Thailand and I am sad I wasn't there for long but my time at GVI Thailand is over, now for GVI Laos.

Luke T.
(Initial impressions of Laos, it is so peaceful, serene and holy crap the accommodation is luxury in comparison)

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