Teachers day in Nongkhai
Every year the students in Thai schools gives flowers to their teachers. One special day is devoted to this: the students in gratitude giving flowers to their teachers! How about spreading that tradition?
Picture: Adam, Julie and Marie receiving flowers from students.
Fruits in Thailand
Thailand has many exotic fruits that we have hardly seen in Europe or the US. And the fruit seasons here are not a question of some prize-variations; it's a question for the eyes. The streets are "burning" in the color of the fruit in season! Right now they are red, turning purple. We pass through one of the best seasons; Rambutan and Mangosteen.
The red fruit with green "hair" is Rambutan, but the "queen of fruits" is the Mangot (Mangosteen). You have to know how to open it, but under the thick purple skin it has this white delicious fruit. They now cost 10-15 bath/kilo.
A Thai tradition when someone is starting a journey is to have a "Baisee sukoan", a ceremony in which the parting person is wiched good luck by the others. We had a Baisee ceremony for our volunteers who left in the beginning of August. You tie white ribbon around the wrists of your friends and wish them something for the trip or for their futures. This is a rather touching ceremony.
We were also quite moved, saying goodbye and good luck and a huge thanks to those wonderful people volunteering here this spring and summer.
The picture showing "our" Monks (soon fluent in English ) presiding over the ceremony.
In the monk university Wat Sisaket, Nong Khai, Tessa Kramer experiences a new teaching situation:
I had never been in front of a class before.
And this was not just any class either.
These were monks. Shaved head, orange robes and all. When Fang An, my flat mate, and I stood in front of the class on our first day, they all just stared right back at us. I whispered to her: 'I'm out of here. Have fun!' At that moment, the whole class went silent and smiled friendly. I felt at ease and started the lesson we had prepared. I am so glad I stayed!
The monks in our class come from all around Nong Khai to study. We even had some students from Lao joining the group. Trouble with that is, that the English level of the students varied quite a lot.
So we played games to enhance their vocabulary, played music in order to practice their listening abilities, did exercises to repeat some of the most important grammar, but most of all just talked a lot.
Sometimes it felt like we were being questioned every time we got into that classroom. They wanted to know everything; what we were going to do after class, where we had traveled so far, what we are going to do when we go back home, if there is any snow in Holland.... Everything.
To thank us for our time and effort in class, some of the monks took us on a trip to sculpture park, here in Nong Khai.
They tried their very best to explain all the Thai signs at the sculptures and statues.
We were also invited to visit the 'home-temple' of one of the students, where we also got our fortune told. Luckily, one of the monks was able to translate it into English. If it wasn't for him, I would still be in the dark about my future happiness!
I can't explain why or how, but I have been looking forward to every single class since the day I started. They have been, and still are, so eager to learn and so friendly at heart to help out in any way they can. I don't even think of myself as the volunteer anymore. I seem to be getting a lot more respect and appreciation than most people do for a paid job. It is so rewarding and fulfilling. I learn new things about the Thai culture every day, and especially about the Buddhist culture and history. I am so very glad I stayed!