It’s already been a month! Looking back, I have experienced a lot within just 30 days. I teach English to the children at the shelter in the afternoons now, and just recently, I started teaching English in private classes as well. This is so rewarding, such a different situation than teaching back home in Norway. The biggest challenge is the pronunciation of words, where endings seem to disappear and /r/ becomes /l/. The English classes in Thai schools are very much based on listening and reading, thus they are not familiar with speaking much. They know many phrases, but that is not enough to make yourself understood nor to understand others. So I have some work to do.
I’ve started to get to know the children and women here better now. It’s still hard with the language barrier, but we are getting good at using our bodies to explain what we are actually trying to say. And it’s working quite well. It’s nice to play around with them and be there for them when they need a grown up around them. Sometimes it’s just about being, not doing anything special, and that can bring people closer together. We can still play around and have a lot of fun even though we’re not able to communicate as much as I’d like to. Hide and seek is a much loved activity. Or just go around and scare each other works pretty well too. That is for the younger children. Some of the children are more teenagers, and they are more eager to talk. Talk about life, talk about what they like and dislike, talk about the differences in cultures and languages. Those moments with the children where we play or talk are those I probably will never forget.
I’ve been to the Ban Klang Na site of MRICRH many times now. Usually, this site is a shelter for women and families in need, that be a violent environment or human trafficking victims. Nowadays, both women and children go there during weekends to do agricultural work. This way, they get a vocational skill that can help them move on in life. In a perfect world, we would have both sites up and running all the time. But without the resources needed to do so, the two shelters have now merged. So everybody is living together on one site. It’s better than nothing, but it’s not a good long term solution for anyone. We are still getting phone calls every week from people in need, and at the moment, there are no room for more people here. Hopefully, we’ll be able to sort this out in the near future.
Days are usually the same. I get up in the morning, I hear the children go to the fields to do some agricultural work, then I hear them go to school. I go to the office and start working. Some days are filled with meetings or visits to families, while most days I am working at the office. Then the children get home from school, they all have hydro therapy, while I have an hour off, and then English classes. Most days we get some time to chat both during and after the English classes, which is probably what I enjoy the most myself. We found some common ground the other day when the children brought a stray kitten to the shelter. While they are at the other site in the weekends, I nurture the kitten for them. And the kitten follows us all around, even to the English classes in the afternoons.
Most days are like this, and I start to like it more and more.