Hey – Sawasdee Krab!
My name is Cormac Pope and I am final year student studying biochemistry, plant and agribioscience in NUI Galway.
I have just completed my first week of volunteering in Chiang Mai and so far it has been an incredible experience. I’m volunteering in a home for single mothers and pregnant women that come from disadvantaged back-grounds, called The Wildflower Home. Here, the women are taught necessary life skills, artesian skills, English, law, healthcare, and childcare. There is a huge sense of community and togetherness within the home. Everyone works together to cook food, clean, farm, do construction on site, to take care of the children and to do income generation projects. This home is a huge support network for these women and they all are working together to help each other.
This week I have been working in the Day Care every morning with the children. At the moment there are four young boys and one baby girl. This involves playing, teaching them manners, saying please and thank you, feeding them fruit, showing them to brush their teeth and pretending to be an elephant or monkey!
After that I’ve been going to the temple closest to The Wildflower Home with three mothers. Here, we clean up after the monks who have just finished their lunch and we bring the remaining food back to the home. This shows great support from the area. The ladies come and clean and, in return, get food for the home.
In the afternoon I have been teaching one of the mothers English. She is expecting a baby girl in the next month so we have been covering topics that would be useful when being a mother.
These women have all come from hard backgrounds, where they felt they needed help and support but did not receive it. They come here and together give each other that support, with the famous and infectious Thai Smile on their faces every day.
Back in the Volunteer house I received great welcomes from other volunteers, was brought out to night markets, taken to climb sticky waterfalls and had a big family dinner on Wednesday night.
Chiang Mai has welcomed me with open arms and even elephant hugs!! I cannot wait to see what the next seven weeks has to bring!