Thursday, September 5, 2013

Reflection - volunteering

Once again with CCS my experience had multiple dimensions.

The first was the culture shift. Because Thailand had never been a colony the country is open to many Asians, and I began to differentiate those from China, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand. Many European-Asian combinations muddle the distinction but make the country as a whole united around other qualities than race or even original nationality. There are huge buildings and multinational corporations but many more streets and alleys where comfortable small business stalls provide for one family enough to live. There were not beggars or homeless in large numbers. Tiny farms seemed to be self sustaining and the land not really appropriate for large scale farming. The jungle is barely kept at bay by the concrete.
The second was the actual work. Because it was a time of special events for my particular school I did not get as much classroom time as I like to but spent more time in special sessions and with the teachers. They did value storytelling which was a nice way for me to share.

The third was every bit as rewarding as usual and that was the relationship with the other volunteers. Those friendships have a unique experience quality that no one back home can imagine. The age and race and education field is leveled and it only matters that one is willing to risk and try. Which is why we all came to begin with.

The last was the experiences we were offered as a group to understand the culture. Because Bangkok is huge we had numerous great opportunities to see palaces, wats, museums and massage - in theory nearby but because of traffic always 2 hours away.

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