We left to Singburi after nearly a week in busy, noisy, and tiresome Bangkok.
We came to a beautiful, quiet river that runs slowly and had, on occasion, Thai fisherman in small boats. We ate with all the volunteers, a meal prepared specially for us, then drove around and got to know the area. In the evening we went with the other volunteers (there were three in Singburi) to watch a performance prepared by children. There are traditional Thai dances every Sunday to receive the newcomers. How heartwarming it was to see these beautiful children, and to know they were doing it just for us…
The next day we began to do volunteer work. Volunteering options in this area are many and varied, and we were given the unique opportunity to taste them all. That week we became construction workers, teachers, and artists. We renovated the orphanage, painted chairs, tiled floors, laid bricks for a community project and shortly thereafter we were teachers for children in the school. It’s unbelievable how much fun it was to paint and plaster, working with my hands was so great. It was so liberating for my consciousness when all I cared about at that moment was using color to make a sad grey wall become alive and happy.
For me, however, the strongest experience was teaching in the school. Thai children are quiet and have a pleasant discourse, and are especially eager to learn. Each new person is an opportunity for them to learn something new about the world, every unfamiliar face is a teacher. It felt liberating and exciting to pass on every small bit of knowledge to the children.
During renovations and school you meet another amazing aspect of this project – the volunteers themselves. After the hard work it becomes clear and the real adventure begins, now you’re finally beginning to get to know the people around you. The people you meet when you are on a volunteer project are a world beyond who you would meet on any other trip; everyone works hard, everyone aims to become slightly larger than themselves, and they all simply good people.
Every moment I was with them I learned something new, all in the fun of and joy and giving, and all for something a bit more than just a trip – a little more than just another holiday – and maybe, just maybe, this was something that will ultimately help me find myself.