Michaela Robb - General Care Projects in Thailand
Due to visiting Thailand many times before on family holidays I had a rough idea of what I was to expect once I had landed into Krabi, but despite thinking I knew it all I was totally wrong. I was not going to be living the life I was used to in fancy hotels, lying by the beach all day and out to fancy restaurants for dinner at night. But after all, you aren’t going to volunteer to gain the holiday experience! My time in Thailand was so eye-opening and really changed me as a person. This experience makes you feel so much better in yourself in so many ways, even little things like making the children smile made it worth giving up my free time to help these children.
My host family
My host mum (Pi Nong) was wonderful, a lady of such a sweet nature, wouldn’t do harm to anything or anyone! Pi Nong did her very best to ensure all of the volunteers staying in her home were welcomed from the minute we arrived at her home, despite her being very shy she soon came out of her bubble and joined us at dinner occasionally and spoke to us about her life which allowed us to have more of an understanding about her! I believed entering a host family was a brilliant way to live how the Thai locals were living and it gave you an inside look on how these people live and the habits they had.
In all honesty the culture shock is overwhelming at first, but you do soon get over it and realise you need to stop being selfish and feeling sorry for yourself and instead embrace the experience and opportunity you have been given!
My placement in Thailand
The school I was working in was Baan Sai Thai day-care where I was welcomed immediately with the biggest smiles on the teachers and the children’s faces! I will never forget the smiles I was welcomed with. When arriving at the school you would see children from your class running at you to come and give you a hug which was so wonderful. The bonds you build with the children over your time are irreplaceable and I miss my children more and more every day.
A typical day at my day-care consisted of; playing with the children until everyone arrived, once all the children had arrived we listened to the national anthem and completed some morning exercise where they had to sing and dance, following this we would return to the classroom to go over the English numbers (1-10), soon after would be milk time where the kids would drink milk and you would have to cut the cartons for them.
Returning back to the classroom after milk time it would be time for me to lead my activity where I did things like colouring in, painting and bowling. Lunch time follows your activity time where you have to give the children their plates and help them clean up. Your last job of the day comes after lunch which is nap time – getting them to go to sleep is a challenge! I often found myself falling asleep with the children.
You feel so rewarded at the end of each day seeing the kids smiling and how much they laugh – it is beyond wonderful! Also seeing how much they develop from your starting time with them through till the end of you stay is probably the most fulfilling part.
Finishing early afternoon was pleasant but you couldn’t travel far, only to the beach in Ao Nang which left you with weekends to travel. During my month on the project I spent weekends in Ao Nang, Phuket and Phi Phi Island. As I am young I enjoyed going places where there was a good night life which Phuket and Phi Phi Island were very much party places. Weekends are an amazing opportunity to travel and explore the country so I strongly recommend this.
The Projects Abroad team are exceptional in the Care project, only being 16 years old I was worried about my age and not feeling at home but the Projects Abroad team are all exceptionally welcoming and friendly. The office will have all the supplies you may need for your weeks of activity time.
This is a personal account of one volunteer’s experience on the project and is a snapshot in time. Your experience may be different, as our projects are constantly adapting to local needs and building on accomplishments. Seasonal weather changes can also have a big impact. Find out more about what you can expect from this project, or speak to one of our friendly Programme Advisors.