A new volunteer's prespective in Chiang Rai center - Emma

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September 7th 2010
Published: September 7th 2010
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I am a new volunteer at the Chiangrai center. Today is my 3rd day and I already feel like I've been here for a week. I was a bit anxious on the plane from Bangkok to ChiangRai, I didn't know what to expect really. But as soon as I arrived at the airport I saw the smiley face of the co-director Jirasak, holding a sign with my name on it. And then I met lovely Sana, the current director. A tuk tuk was waiting for us outside and the 20 minute journey to the center gave me the first picture of the outskirt of Chiang Rai, my mind was still foggy and jet lagged. I couldn't believe I had finally arrived after 3 days of travel and I was already amazed of what was around me.

When we arrived at the orphanage the kids were still at school, Sana showed me around and introduced me to Nabee, our house mother. I will be the only volunteer for the next 4 weeks. The orphanage is a lovely place, very colorful and surrounded by green fields and forests, with a few houses down the road. When the kids started to arrive from school I was a bit nervous and wasn't sure how to act, so I just smiled and waved at them and they smiled back at me, then I felt more comfortable! The house is so lively when the kids are around. I can't wait to get to know them better, run around and play silly games with them. They seem so friendly, however I find it so hard to remember their names! Hopefully it will eventually stick to my mind!

The day after my arrival I went to the local market with Nabee and Jirasak to do food shopping for the house. I was kind of speechless, I was trying to take it all in but there was just so much to look at. The smell, the food, the clothes, the people, the heat... everything was mixed together. I loved it.

I also went to the internet cafe to work on my international tasks. It is a lovely 20 minute walk from the center and their are a few small shops on the way to buy snacks or other things like shampoo. I have to remember to take an umbrella with me every time I go there since it is the rainy season and the weather goes from bright and sunny to cloudy and rainy within minutes, however the heat is always here.

Today I intend to teach my first English class to the kids, we will see how that goes but I am pretty confident. I think they are eager to learn as long as the lessons are fun.

I have the strong feeling that the next few weeks will be quite intense and I really hope to make some positive changes in the house... there is so much to do.


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