My Name is P Can and I was an one year volunteer in Kok Payom village from 2012 until 2013. I just arrived in Germany in my old Family after having a very emotional Goodbye from the villagers and the Dalaa stuff. Staying for one year allowed me to understand many actions and to get involved in many activities outside of the normal life of a volunteer. Here in this entry I would like to share a small bit of my Thai experience:
I remember arriving in Kok Payom. I was shocked by the fact that everybody had a single standing house. Soon however I understood that the front doors are never closed apart from the nights. I was part of a real Thai community now. And believe me this was a big change for me. Coming from a city where people run after their own business without looking to the left and the right I was going to spent one year in a village where everybody knows each other. Yes in fact you always have to assume that they are even related to each other as there are only 3 main clans living in Kok Payom by now. These Families care about us volunteers and they host us like brothers and sisters. It is difficult to understand this at the beginning, but once you live there and you see the older volunteers acting with the villagers you see that they could be mother and son. I in fact also found a second mum and dad in the village. The people allowed me to join any activity. They invited my with a smile and patiently explained me what they were doing. Than even though it is there work in the Rubber plantation or in the Rice fields they let me help them and they are pleased seeing us being interested in their lifestyle. The strongest experience was probably the language. In the first month I didn’t understand a word of what they were saying to me and so rather than speaking I had to observe a lot and communicate with sign language. Than learning Thai by myself and giving it a try in the village was the most fun, because you could see the happiness in their faces when I opened myself to them. Trying to make sentences like: “Your house is big. Your house is beautiful. I like your house!” The learning went on steadily and soon I was able to speak about whatever I wanted. This were definitely the month where it was the most fun living in the village. And on my flight back to Germany I understood nearly everything the Captain said in Thai through the Microphone.
The experience was really strong for me and I feel like I could go on telling you about it for ages. There are so many stories to be told. I have also left many documents in Kok Payom so if you will go there one day one day you might hear about me. =).
If you would like to see more photos or read about my personal experiences you can visit my Blog:
Otherwise you can always ask Dalaa for my E-mail address! I am burning to help you and your volunteering career.