Location: New Life Project, Chumphon Province
The chants of determined Thais drifted through the window at 5:30 in the morning signaling to us that it was time to get up and exercise. The grumpy, morning faces of our team members quickly changed into a form of somewhat elation as we did jumping jacks and other sorts of morning stretch accompanied by numerous exercise games. After the morning exercise session (which ended at 6:30 am), we went with the New Life kids to do their chores that included feeding the animals and tending to the five-acre garden. An 8 o’clock breakfast consisting of fried eggs, hot dogs, french fries, and cereal (not a typical Thai breakfast). After breakfast, we headed over to the Duang Prateep Foundation symbol (a HUGE tree with their symbol on top) to repaint it. We got masks, paintbrushes, and gloves and set out to work for two hours. Lunch followed at 12 o’clock consisting of rice and pad Thai. After that, we headed back to the kindergarten school where we received a hero’s welcome like we were injured soldiers returning from a brutal war. We continued to teach them English for one hour and a half and used lessons such as the alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors, sports and used games such as head, shoulders, knees and toes, the spelling game (where we would take two members of the class and see who can spell a word the fastest), and other fun games that taught them English. Tears were shed as the pickup truck drove away with 19 Lifeworks members in the back and we showered the students running after the truck with water and ice cubes. When we got back, we went swimming in the lake and took plenty of pictures of all of us holding hands and jumping in, or attempted to take successful pictures. A nice Thai dinner came next, and after dinner, we all bonded over making bracelets which Emily L. brought and taught techniques to the New Life boys. We also had our first Lifeworks forum which was quite emotional and even made the team bond more with each other, and soon we will be like an extended family (a happy one that is). We went to bed with the expectation of getting up at 3 am to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics (which I failed to do). Another fabulous day in Thailand!