VolunTravel Blog – Thailand Community Service Trip
Thailand Community Service Trip to Phuket, March 2014
June 2012, I met Crystal at Elephants World, located in the province of Kanchanaburi in Thailand. This is the place to be when it comes to taking care of old, ill and abused elephants. During my time helping at Elephants World I got to know Crystal, her projects and her story. We talked about her experiences in Thailand, Thailand Community Service projects, and other voluntary trips she had made.
Every year, my school, the International School Hilversum (located in The Netherlands), organizes community and service trips in which grade 11 students will get the wonderful opportunity to go abroad and help and explore third world countries.
After writing my motivation letter in September 2013, I heard that I was selected to go onto the trip. Destination was Phuket, Thailand. People selected for the trip were asked to raise as much money as they could. This is when the help of 2H7C, and in particular Crystal, came in. During her visit to Europe in December 2013, Crystal gave (on behalf of 2H7C) a donation to our community and service trip.
The community and service trip in March 2014 gave me an amazing opportunity to develop myself but also to help the local people in the area of Phuket. My goal for the trip was to get out of my comfort zone through developing others and myself. For example, communicating with others in a language which is different from my own, Dutch.
During the trip I learned a lot about the Thai culture. The first few days were spent in a local Muslim village close to Phuket. I was a part of a group of students that stayed with a host family and experienced the living standards of a typical Thai family.
Showering was done by throwing a bucket of water over myself, no air-conditioning and no Wi-Fi were available. The experience challenged me in terms of communication with the local people in the village but also taught me how to enjoy my life when I return to Holland. It was amazing to see how the locals were so happy even though they didn’t have much in terms of money and material items. However, they are happy families, and this is what makes them wealthy.
The next few days were spent in a Burmese learning center. Here children from Burma were given the chance to go to school. When we arrived at the school, it looked very unappealing. So, our task was to brighten up the school. We painted windows in classrooms, the wall surrounding the school, and set up a recycling program for the school. In our free time we communicated and played with the children.
The final few days were spent helping the Home and Life Foundation, also located near Phuket. The foundation is an orphanage and was established after the Tsunami in 2004 hit the area.
During our days at the orphanage, we mainly helped reinforcing the riverbanks and created a clean and organized greenhouse.
In conclusion, my Thailand community service trip has been an amazing opportunity and experience. Many thanks to 2C7C and especially Crystal for the donation to my wonderful trip to Thailand!