It’s now April – the hottest month in Thailand! Students are on summer break for the month and it’s too hot to do anything. I’ve wrapped up my BYLTP classes Mondays through Fridays and my students are now off for six-week internships around northern Thailand. I miss them terribly but trust they are having valuable experiences. I can’t wait to see them again in May when they return to DEPDC/GMS for graduation. I also wrapped up my CLC evening classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. My CLC students are young adults who work during the day and study English at night. We celebrated our break with a festive and delicious dinner at moo kata (Thai BBQ). CLC will resume again on May 2.
I’ve taken on a new student for the month of April. I will be his private English tutor on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. He is an enthusiastic student who is eager to learn. I will be earning a little money as his tutor but it’s not a lot. It’s more of a favor than anything. In the time I’ve been here, I’ve had the fortune of working with Thai and Burmese students who really want to learn English. They come to class because they want to not because their rich parents have made them. This makes my job so much easier and so much more rewarding.
Since my primary DEPDC/GMS classes are out, I can now focus on other work that needs to be done. Our quarterly newsletter will drop this month. I am also redesigning and updating our volunteer handbook. After that I will redesign and update our human trafficking PowerPoint presentation. This should keep me occupied for the month. There’s always organizational projects, fundraising, grant-writing, meetings, etc. Never a dull moment!
Next week brings the Thai festival of Songkran – the Thai new year. DEPDC/GMS will break for a week and everyone is free to celebrate Songkran wherever they choose. Many Thais will go home to be with their families; many farang will head to Chiang Mai where Songkran is celebrated with one week of party frenzy. Songkran is officially April 13, 14 and 15. It is similar to the Hindu celebration of Holi but instead of paint and powder, the Thais throw buckets of water at each other for a solid week. No one can expect to stay dry during Songkran. So don your water buckets, bags of ice, and supersoakers! This is going to be one wild romp!
Other than a nationwide water fight and celebrations with food and family, many Thais will visit the temple to pay their respects to the Lord Buddha and to the water itself and all that it does for us.
My mother is leaving just after Songkran to return to the U.S. We’ve planned a one-week excursion to Chiang Mai, Pai and possibly Sukothai. If money and time were no issue, I would also like to take her to Mae Sot – a border town on the eastern side of Myanmar so we could visit and volunteer in a Burmese refugee camp. I’m not sure we will make it. We have seven days to explore northern Thailand and we have to go by bus. I guess we’ll just set out and see where the road takes us…