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July 22nd 2009
Published: July 22nd 2009
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Sitting sipping my second glass of wine, I began to reflect on some of the things I most missed about America. Aside from family and friends, music is certainly high on my list. I don’t mean to sound snobbish or pretentious, it’s just that Thai music is loud, distorted, monotonous, repetitious, tedious, oh well, you get the idea I just don’t like it. Next, is Microsoft Word in English. Now I do have to admit that I have a pirated version of Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007, in Thai. Think about this for just a moment, all of a sudden you can’t understand anything on the tool bar, the pop ups nor which icon is for cut, paste, or copy and oh yes, spell check! I mean, like you’d be just a wee bit frustrated, too. A lumber yard is third on my list. Yes I know everyone is going “a what?” But it would be nice to get a simple 8 foot 2x4. Bamboo, understandably, is the wood of choice and granted, it can be eaten, weaved, fished with, sat on, made into ladders and houses but it’s pretty useless as a straight-edge!

That said, I’ll explain my use for
1565 blocks1565 blocks1565 blocks

This is how the wall will look when transferring the map
a straight-edge after a bit of insight. I really don’t have a ‘job’ here. It looked good for the Nyoke, who is up for re-election to have a “farang” in his village, so here I am. Quite honestly, there is little community development work that requires my expertise, especially since my technical language skills are extremely limited and the only English speaker in the office is too busy to take time with me. My mission than, has been to integrate into the community and find meaningful work that would be sustainable. I figured there is no better way than to work with the children as they are the future. Thus I’ve decided to do the World Map Project and coerced one of my pawaws (principles) to do it at his school. Let it suffice to say that Thai schools do not use the most up to date teaching techniques nor are the teachers really motivated or the schools the least bit modern. So, when I approached the pawaw there was not a lot of enthusiasm and his concern was that the wall look beautiful, rather then be a useful teaching tool. I reassured him of its potential beauty while eyeing
This is how it will lookThis is how it will lookThis is how it will look

as it is drawn on the wall
the decaying school behind him. I explained the maps potential for getting the kids, grades 5-6, involved in the process and the fact that they would be learning history and geography with a less tedious, dull, unquestioning, method. (Ok, I really didn’t say it that way, but I certainly thought it.) He agreed that I could use the large, very large wall in the eating area that I had been salivating over and said he had a budget to pay for the supplies. I was on a high after having worked this guy for 3 weeks. I go into the city and gather prices for all supplies and call the pawaw to ask if I should pick them up. “No, no, I have everything for you on Monday” he says. Monday morning excited with anticipation, I bike to the school only to find no supplies as promised. The pawaw tells me he was too busy and come back Thursday. I say no way I’m also busy and have other plans and one of those plans was to start the map now, today, Monday. He finally called in two other teachers and they took me to a supply room and presented
The Wall!The Wall!The Wall!

All 3 sections 23 x 11 feet
me with 5 year old paint, brushes and rollers. Of course everyone laughed when I refused to use them. Finally, I was told one of the teachers would take me to get what I needed…I’m heading for the car when the pawaw calls me back and nonchalantly tells me I cannot use the wall first specified but I can use a smaller one off to the side. Needless to say I was pissed but decided that a small wall was better than no wall. Turning around to run back to the car, ‘cause now I was hot to get started, I was told “gin ahaan”….to hell with eating, I was on a mission and everyone was suppose to be too busy to help me out…besides who eats lunch at 10:30? Thais do, god forbid they miss a meal. 45minutes later we’re headed into the city where I’m dropped off at a stationary store and told to get my supplies and wait. A STATIONARY STORE! I need a PAINT STORE! An hour and a half later I’m picked up and explain I need paint. Now remember, everyone is very busy and this is a teacher who has left her classroom in front of a TV and gone off with me. We finally accomplish my mission and head back to the school. Still fuming about the change of walls I sat for a while deciding whether to start, when I receive a telephone call from a young man I’ve been tutoring. He asks where I am and I tell him I’m at the school, he repeats “I’m at the school”. He asks how long I’ll be there and I tell him a while. He asks again where I am and I respond that I’m at the school, once more he repeats “I’m at the school”. We go on like this for a few minutes until I finally realize he too is at the school! I crack up every time I think of that conversation. Sorry, that was a little side story. He and two of his buddies locate me sitting forlorn in front of my little out of the way wall and I to explain about the change. “No, no, this wall just won’t do, you need the large wall so it can be bright and beautiful” they say. Alas, others who think like me and see through the eyes of an artist. (ok, that’s a little far fetch)…”let’s go talk to the pawaw”. Envision me and my three gay friends, hands waving, deep in enthusiastic conversation. It took only minutes for me to get my large wall back. Thus the need for a straight-edge.

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


My favorite MonkMy favorite Monk
My favorite Monk

My home stay Paw is a monk for 3 months. He is a very special person and we cried upon seeing each other after several months separation
This is PhimaiThis is Phimai
This is Phimai

One of the biggest & most important religious sanctuaries found in Thailand
Arched gatewayArched gateway
Arched gateway

and Kamphaeng Kaew (outer walls) has a cruiciform shape
The ancient city....The ancient city....
The ancient city....

was believed to be an entrance to the heavenly realm where deities reside

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