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Published: March 22nd 2010
How can this be…where have the days flown, the hours ticked away and the minutes disappeared to? Its official, I’m in my second year of Peace Corps service and on the down side to home. Two weeks ago I hosted four incoming trainees and really felt like an old timer giving them a pep talk about the blips and bumps of the first year. Things are pretty laid back for me now and I can reflect on some of my accomplishments and disappointments.
My biggest accomplishment came as a surprise and I still have trouble taking credit for any of it. This past Friday was an award day at the Muang (the main city in the province). Eight of my students were awarded gold medals for excellence in English. This was the FIRST year that any students from my school had been invited to attend. I was personally told this was a result of my interaction with the students and implementing the pen pal program. They actually have a reason to want to learn English. Before, the prospect of meeting a farang, let alone talking to one, was pretty unlikely. Now they want to know exactly what their friends in
America are saying.
The World Map was a huge success and since it’s completion I began and completed the Thai map. I’ve recently started on upgrading the library and am painting the Solar System on one wall (thank you Marvin). I’ve been able to accumulate about 50 primary English books and am working on getting more. Next semester I’ll work with one of the teachers to implement a reading program. I’ll also have another class join the pen pal program for a total 3 grades.
I’ve thought about the disappointments and decided they are more an ego issue for me. I consistently try to remind myself that if a project is to succeed it must be because of the determination and needs of the community. It is their project and if it falls short or apart it’s because it lacks interest. So I would like to say I have not been disappointed.
A couple of weeks ago, my friends son made merit and became a monk. Its usually done to honor their mothers and they can stay anywhere from one week to several years or forever. Most young men go in for one to two weeks. It
kind of reminds me of a Bar Mitzvah with the big celebration and gifts of money.
As a close friend of the family, I was allowed to take a snip from Khun Bo's hair and place it on the banana leaves that would eventually float down the river. After the ordination, Khun Nitaya, Bo's mother, is not allowed to touch her son in any fashion, kiss, hug, etc., but that's only for two weeks!
I've included a couple of photos that I found humorous, so enjoy until the next blog
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Debbie (Ridgley) Selzer
Interesting details on the ordination ceremony- that's why I love reading your blog. Also enjoyed the photos immensely. I fell out of my chair seeing the McCain/Palin t-shirt, though. Too funny! Take care and be safe, my friend! - Debbie
Enjoying your photos
Dear Linda, Sawadee Ka! I been back from Thailand and Indonesia for one week now. Sorry I did not get a chance to contact you or make it up to Northern Thailand. I broke my arm and though I had a great time (in spite of the arm) it made travel out of Bangkok challenging. I did travel and did volunteer work in Bali at a place called Santang Hati. A rehab center for victims of polio. I was gone two months and have learned tons. Been writing the whole time and trying to collate it altogether. I have had a hard time with re-entry to the Western world. I can't imagine what you will go through after two years. Yikes. I am writing to say thank you for posting. It was soothing today to read your email and see photos and hear of things that make sense. I will be seeing your cousin, Ginette this Wednesday. Take care. Linda
Thanks Debbie for your comments...you're my biggest fan. Keep well. Lynda