As of June 8th, I have been calling the village of Khuk Khak in southern Thailand my home. I will be living and volunteering here for the next three months. I am sharing a wonderfully spacious apartment (welcome, visitors!) with my boyfriend Matt, who is also here volunteering.
We are surrounded by either long stretches of beach and sky or lush, green jungles. There are even a couple of elephant camps a short distance from where we live and seeing elephants grazing in the fields is a common occurrence. It's actually pretty cool to have elephants as neighbors, those party animals!
The organization that I am volunteering with is the Grassroots Human Rights Education and Development, or GHRE for short. I work with Burmese migrant workers and teach English to 2nd, 3rd, and 5th graders every day in Pakarang, a village 5 minutes away from my house, and conversational English classes twice a week with older students at the Youth Outreach Center in Khuk Khak. Each afternoon, I am back at the main GHRE office to plan and prepare for the next day's lessons and to work on other organizational and administrative projects for GHRE, including creating an on-line store for the Women's Education and Development Association, a division of GHRE.
In the evenings, Matt and I go to the beach (weather permitting) and surf, shop at the local market for food, take rides on our motor scooter through the jungles exploring the many little nooks and crannies in the area or go home and play badminton in our living room before eating a hearty and delicious Thai dinner.
My days are long and exhausting but the rewards of volunteering and living in Thailand are more than worth it.
I guess my Thai life isn't exactly a Mai Thai life, but I'm finally doing something that I've been wanting to do for a long time so I can't complain. In fact, I'm a lot happier here than I have been for awhile and THAT'S a good thing.
© Connie Hum 2010