Thailand is known as the land of smiles and I have never seen as many smiles together as I did yesterday during the first day of the English Camp. I was sooooooooooooo tired when i came back home that I had to really work hard to remain awake till 8pm, then I subsided to my fatigue and slept till this morning. The camp was really a big deal, not only the principals of the neighbouring schools came by, and the education supervisor, but even the director of education of the Kon Khaen province. And as you might imagine that meant me being on hundreds of pictures
First the kids arrived, being brought by their own principals in the back of pick up trucks. Just imagine the sight, many pick ups driving inside the school, with tons of 10, 11, and 12 year old kids in the back, suddenly jumping out on the football field behind our school, and walking towards us like little ants. Tables were put on the volleyball court for the kids to sign in and after a bit of mess, excitement, and confusion all kids were led to sit on the floor, in front of the stage built for the Opening ceremony.
Nothing starts here before paying respect to the Buddha, a little prayer, and a short mediation. So that is what happened. Then there were the speeches by the Principal of my school, and the provincial director of Education. Both written by me, and far too complicated for their level of English. It was not that the speeches were difficult, simply that they could not read English! As yo might be used by now, as nothing here is never to strict, during both speeches piratically no one but me paid attention.
And then the camp started. First every siingle kid stood in line to shake hands with me and Hans ( who was there just for that moment then left and say ” Hello my name is Kunkru Tchu, Hello my name is…. nice to meet you! “. The kids from my school were naturally super fine with that, but the others were quite shy. Apart from one or another more extroverted kid, they almost all spoke quite softly. I always said very good. Perfect, and helped the ones who couldnt but never insisting to much on the ones evidently too nervous. I could notice that these kids were also very poor. Some had some injuries like sacrs, a blind eye, some were wearing masks afraid of contracting the swine flue
There were 8 bases. Myself, my family, my school, culture, weather etc… I was allocated to Culture abnd was supposed to teach them about X-mas and Valentine’s day. The bases were located in the garden, around the football field, under huge trees to protect us from the blasting sun. The kids were separated in different groups, with different colours, and had to move from base to base. Each base had about 3 teachers, and 40 students. In my base no one but me spoke English. So I had to count in the enormous help of Ban Nonpho ( my little school) students! And quite proudly and “bias-ly” I thought they were by far the best Well, they also know me and are not shy.
I had myself written this little texts about X-mas and Valentines day. How can I still be so removed from reality? I had written it was a Christian Holiday, and that it celebrated the birth of Jesus. And of course about Santa Claus and trees. As my first group arrived and I started explaining and looking at their completely blank faces…. I realized “of course they have no idea..” So by group 4 we were only learning to say X-mas, 25th of December. Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and making them draw which ever holiday they liked best. Yes it was way more fun and realistic!
Between groups I was made to sing in a Karaoke machine songs I had never never heard. It was hilarious. Little by little the other kids who do not know me, the less shy ones came by, we played, I asked them questions, they giggled and hid and laughed, but had lots of fun. HOrm is without a question the life of the whole event. She dances, and sings, and screams, and it just completely mazing to see how much eenrgy she has.
Anyway, I have to go now as one more camp day awaits me. And then I bid farewell to my very dear kids. I will definitely miss them. Year 3 was not there as the camp was supposedly for years 4,5,6 but Tangmo, and Neen, and Ta and many others from year 3 hung around the whole day. I played with them too.
My next stop is Nong Khai. From there I shall finally cross into Laos. With my heart still here. It is amazing It takes a while to feel entirely in place … and then it is time