It’s hard to believe only one week has passed since I’ve arrived here in Chiang Mai.
I already feel so settled and at home here that the idea that I will have to leave in 6 weeks isn’t something I want to think about. It’s not as though I had time to think about it anyway due to the action packed week I’ve had.
During this week I experienced leading a workshop for the first time! Myself and another ARI volunteer Mark lead a workshop with an organisation called Urban Light. This organisation aids exploited boys who work in the sex industry in Chiang Mai. This is incredibly important work as these boys tend to be the forgotten members of society and receive little to no support. For this workshop Mark and I decided to teach the boys how to create optical illusions. This definitely seemed to intrigue the boys and they really enjoyed looking at the finished product that they had created themselves. I personally enjoyed this workshop because of how pleasant the boys are to be around even though most of them speak very little English. I’m very excited to work with Urban Light again and learn more about the issue this amazing group is attempting to tackle.
I also led a second workshop with a ARI volunteer from America called Nora. The workshop was in a temple school called Wat Meun Ngen Kong. The workshop is done after school and we work with all age groups so the energy levels are were soaring! Nora and I came up with the idea to do colour explosions with the kids and I think its safe to say that this activity was a hit. Everyone got really creative with their pictures and it was great to see their individuality shining through. I always love working with this group because they’re so ready and willing to participate in whatever we have planned.
A really lovely experience I had this week was making ‘jet packs’ with the kids in Hope Home. It was unbelievable to see the smiles on their faces that were caused by simply strapping water bottles filled with rice to their backs. When they were lifted into the air and pretended to fly I thought my heart would burst from watching them. I feel like this week I got to know some of the kids better and they got to know me. So I hope in the following weeks our relationships will progress even further.
Once again my weekend was filled with seeing a new and beautiful part of Thailand. My fellow volunteers and I decided to take a trip to the small village of Pai. While I knew from word of mouth that the town itself would be amazing I didn’t expect to be completely enamoured by the actual drive there. Now I cannot in good conscience recommended this journey to someone who gets easily car sick. I would definitely say that driving along the mountainside to Pai is a must for anyone traveling to Thailand. It was a truly stunning view.
Once again what really made my experience here were the incredibly friendly people I met there. It seems like everywhere I go in Thailand people welcome us with open arms and a smile. I always knew I’d fall in love with Thailand but I had assumed it would be the sites and the culture that would steal my heart, but in reality it’s the people that make me never want to leave.
I can’t wait to see what else Chiang Mai has in store for me.