Hi! I am Savannah, and I am the social work student on the team. We have officially made it to Thailand! As of May 23rd, all nine of us stepped foot into our new home for the next three weeks. Eight of the nine of us had a blast in Singapore the past few days as a pre-implementation trip, and are thankfully already adjusted to the 12-hour time difference. Patrick graduated, and him and David, our technical advisor, met us in Bangkok to begin our work. While these two have to catch up on the time difference, we are all experiencing the culture shock and wonder of Thailand. We were greeted by Khem, our cultural advisor, and the students from Mahidol University that will be helping us, and immediately felt welcomed to this foreign culture. We are incredibly thankful to have the opportunity to partner with these students, and they are already introducing us to language, culture, and yummy snacks (or aroi snacks).
With all this excitement and fun also comes the hard work and problem-solving of our project. Unfortunately, our contractor has been injured and will no longer be able to assist us on our project, and we send get well wishes and hope for a speedy recovery. This is our first bump in the project, and therefore our first exercise in being innovative and flexible while in a foreign country. The good news is that today we visited Home Pro, a store similar to Home Depot, and it looks like we will have all the materials we need.
We also continued to be introduced to Thai culture today, starting off the day by paying our respects to the past king. We then got on long-tail boat to explore the canals that run through the outskirts of Bangkok. Naturally, this boat ride took us to the Royal Barges National Museum where we learned about the importance of water in Thai culture. As we continued on the canals, we saw floating markets, swimming dogs, and beautiful temples, and stopped to feed some fish from the side of the boat.
After this, we visited a Buddhist temple and admired the unique and extraordinary architecture and traditions. A few of us even got blessings from a monk. So far, our experiences have been once in a lifetime, and I am sure once we are working in the community it will be even more special. Tomorrow, we leave early to finally arrive in Don Kang, where we will be staying the next few weeks implementing our project. We can’t wait for what we have been working on for the past two semesters to finally materialize and get hands on experience. Stay tuned for more updates!
P.S. Lizards here aren’t like the lizards in Texas.