Dalaa MLTV gathering – February 2012

DaLaa MLTV gathering in Bangklam (Pi Wichan house- Bang Yee village) 26th to 28th/02/2012

Objectives: First contact with the local community before the environment preservation workcamp (23/03 to 06/04) – Give an idea of International volunteers experience to locals- Exchange between volunteers from both DaLaa centers
Participants: from Kok Payom: Chuy, Ansgar, Jonathan, Pierre, AurelienFrom Kuan Mai Bong: Aleef, Camilla, Maria, Amaury (Jan in holidays, Milka stayed with Ocean)From DaLaa office: A, Alex, Joe, Mooy  (+Ui on Sunday)From locals: Pi Wichan (+his family), Pi Chanchai, Pi Soot, many others visit us.
We arrived on Sunday morning (organizers) for preparation. We had a nice talk with Pi Wichan to speak about those 2 days and the coming STC. He even invited DaLaa to stay in his place with MLTV.We went to visit all headmen from villages around to invite them for the next day. Then Alex went to pick up volunteers (we rented a songteo).The first evening was to explain about the program and learn to know each other.Then on Monday morning, Pi Wichan who is a radiobroadcaster , organized a radio emission with us and local official. It was a kind of interview to explain about DaLaa, and the STC project. It took more than 2 hours and everything was translated in English and Thai (thanks to Aleef, A and Joe). The program was broadcasted in 3 provinces in South Thailand. Chuy, Aurelien and Pierre arrived just in time for join the interview. It was quite impressing.
In beginning afternoon, only by ourselves, we had a description of each DaLaa center project to present to the other center. Then, at about 15:30, some villagers came to pick us up by boat (Pi Wichan house is at the Bangklam river bank). We went few kilometers where the river meets with the Songkhla lake. Then we stopped at a small island: Koh Klang where about 30 villagers were waiting for us. It is the place where we are going to build a meeting place for the local fishermen passing by.  We cut the grass where is going to be the area.  Not a big work as we were many people but nice to meet locals. We could exchange, eyes contacts and smiles more than speaking, we also tasted some wild honey founded over there.
Two hours later, we were back for a swim in the river and a nice dinner (fish and rice for sure)In the evening, locals brought some beers and another local strong alcohol (Yaa dong). A nice local guy (professional) came to play music for us, It was really nice, then Aleef continued with love songs until late at night.
On the last morning, after the yoga lessons from Mooi, we had discussions about the problems in both centers. A boat needed in Kok Payom, hard work in KMB and important daily tasks in both places, there were active discussion about differences of cultures too.  Do the volunteers need to adapt to local culture completely even if they disagree. It’s difficult to have very few privacy and to be a “model” all the time. Kok Payom need also more activities and a clear leader for communication with locals. We will continue with a important meeting in KokPayom. Aurelien also wrote a document to help with English teaching for future volunteers.
At noon, we had our last lunch together, clean everything and left back to Hatyai.Thanks again for Pi Wichan family hospitality, his place is very nice.