Location: Samutsongkram province
Today was an exciting first day of the program, as we wasted no time getting involved with the Duang Prateep Foundation, the organization we will be working with over the next three weeks. We were greeted by a large group of workers and students from the DPF, including Ms. Prateep herself. We were honored to be welcomed so warmly and excited to meet the people we will be working with and hear about all of the different projects that we will be participating in with the DPF. After lunch, we all climbed into the craziest, coolest, bus any of us had ever seen. Our awesome host Krow wasted no time in helping us get to know the Thai students who were joining us for a weekend retreat. We quickly jumped into games that involved learning each other’s names and learning how to communicate even when you don’t speak the same language. We all eventually ended up with a buddy, the person that we would spend the most time with over the next day and a half. We continued with games and activities once we arrived at the resort – all of the games were to help us make friends, learn about each other, and figure out how to communicate in ways other than with language – Krow kept saying “Language is never a problem.” It is amazing how quickly you can become close to people even when you don’t speak the same language, between body language, facial expressions, and just laugh, we all soon felt like we had known each other much longer than one afternoon. In the evening after dinner the Thai group had a special treat for us, a series of performances including traditional Thai dance, playing traditional Thai instruments, singing and a demonstration of some Thai boxing. They then asked us to contribute something – we didn’t have much time to prepare, but we performed and then taught them the famous American dance the Macarena. They enjoyed it, and we all had an awesome time singing and dancing together, an awesome way to end our first day in Thailand.