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Volunteering in Thailand – Make a difference, learn a skill, see the real Thailand

I was lucky enough to be able to volunteer thought GoEco for a week at the Learn, Volunteer and Travel project in October 2016. I was looking for an experience to use my muscles rather than my mind and to do some proper physical work to help people who have very little.

I had a limited window I could volunteer for, because of work commitments (and looking after my own kids!), and I liked the idea of helping at an orphanage/school in particular. The week I was able to attend, the kids were not physically at the school, which was a bit of a shame but did allow me to focus on the task at hand. The orphanage had recently been damaged by pretty serious floods, and was in a bad way.

We spent the first day cleaning the floors, scraping up mud, and (sadly) picking up the kids toys and clothes that had been washed out of the classrooms and into the common areas by the river that had burst its banks.

We then learned how to lay floor tiles, and I became a pretty proficient tiler (having never done so a day in my life previously). We spent the rest of the time laying tiles in the (open air) laundry and common area of the school. Although it was hard physical work mixing cement by hand in very hot conditions, it was very satisfying to see the progress we made and just what I was looking for. I was particularly pleased that the kids wouldn’t have to come back and see the damage the flood had done, as I imagined how my kids would feel to see their (meager) possessions broken and muddy.

I met some lovely people (both fellow travelers and locals) and got to enjoy the real Thai countryside as opposed to the hustle and craziness of Bangkok. Most of the fellow volunteers were circa 20 years old, (I’m 37) and all were lovely people from all over the world- mostly Germany/ Austria/ Holland. We got plenty of time in the afternoons/ evenings to visit local attractions (temple, night market, barbecue restaurant). If you are thinking about volunteering, there is still a lot of work to do at the school, and I recommend you come and help out!