Sa Wad Dee Khaa!!!! (Hello in Thai!!)
Long time no talk. In the past few weeks since my last email, I’ve traveled for 36 hours straight and am now on the other side of the world! I’m currently reporting from Maetha, Thailand, a small village an hour away from Chiang Mai. Even with a very small community, this village is famous for it’s sustainable farming. 99% of the residents here are farmers and they are apparently at the forefront of sustainable agriculture in Thailand!
Even though sustainable agriculture is so big here, we have moved on to another subject for this core country, education. While in Guatemala we worked on farms every morning, here in Thailand we are working in the local school teaching kids English. We work with kindergartners all the way up to 9th graders. We were split into pairs and with our pairs we make our own lesson plans for each day and teach the kids all by ourselves. We teach in the mornings, then have seminars about education in the afternoons. We have been focusing on how education can be oppressive, but we strive for education that’s liberating. Even in just 2 weeks of our work so far I’ve come to a huge internal dilemma: I want to help the kids learn how to speak English, yet I feel like I’m just broadcasting the privileged American ideals. And who am I to be putting my lifestyle onto anyone else like I know what is right? I could, and honestly do, talk about this for hours so I won’t focus too much on this, but it is something I think anyone and everyone who travels abroad should think about. (If you really want to challenge things you’ve been taught or just want to talk to me more about it, read the Pedagogy of the Oppressed.)
Apart from seminars and teaching in school, the rest of my life in Thailand is pretty relaxing. Living in this very small town (everything is on one, singular street and the “grocery store” is a very small snack shack) has made me realize that my entire life is go go go. I do appreciate the vast amount of free time, as it has given me time to read and reflect, but I’m losing ideas of how to fill the time. So if anyone has any book suggestions or fun things to do in a town which we have no access to games or the internet, please share. I’m also very happy for my new experiences like running at sunrise through beautiful fields (even if I have a heart attack every time a dog chases me which is very often) and meditating in the local Buddhist temple next to monks. I love all this new exposure I’m getting which I lacked greatly in North Carolina.
I could honestly write so many more paragraphs about all my learning and growing here but I hope this gave some good insight to what my life is currently like.
Love you all from Thailand to America and back,