It is a good thing that I don’t have a gun in my possession, because if I did, I’d probably shoot the dog out my window that started barking at 2:30 and is still going strong. I don’t think I’ve ever felt such ill will toward another living creature. SHUT UP DOG! The dog on my street is the noisiest one in the town—I’m pretty sure he’s the ring leader of all the other barking/howling dogs that keep me up at night. I have been wearing ear plugs faithfully every night, but they do me no good when it comes to these dogs. I might have compassion if I thought the dogs were communicating to rescue some Dalmatian puppies , but I’m pretty sure they do it just to make my life a living Hell.
What I can’t figure out is why I’m the only one that ever seems bothered by them? The other volunteers sleep right through, and when I asked if they heard the crazy dogs at night, they either heard them before they went to sleep, or they slept right through. It’s like I have my own personalized curse.
Grrrrr…..he stops just long enough for me to think that maybe he’s done, but as soon as I put my computer away and lay my head down, he starts back up again, with a vengeance.
I got back to sleep around 5 and slept pretty soundly until Cujo the Rooster started howling at about 6:30. I woke myself up the rest of the way with a quick shower, and now I’m about to see if I can find my way to the Baan Unrak home.
I must say, I’m building up some pretty incredible stamina with those cold showers. Despite the chilliness of the air this morning, I didn’t even flinch when I turned on the water….at least not too much. =)
I just finished teaching Paul’s social studies class about Christianity. What a thrill =) I think I’m going to love it here. I’m currently sitting in the Baan Unrak office taking advantage of their wi-fi. Apparantly this is where I’ll be spending a lot of my time if I decide to take over Mailyn’s fundraising projects which she’ll be showing me tomorrow.
It’s only 10 in the morning, and already it’s shaping up to be a fantastic day! After my shower, I scrunched my hair with a bit of gel and pulled it back with a headband before I set out for the home. Sima had explained the route to me last night, so I walked out the door confidently, hoping my amazing sense of direction wouldn’t lead me astray (that was an inside joke with people that know about my sense of direction). I made it to the home fine without even one wrong turn =) It was a beautiful walk, on a twisty inclining dirt road. The home is looks like a giant peach mansion set against the hill. I followed an old Burmese man about half-way up the hill. He was dressed in a traditional skirt-like trousers—I love the beautiful Thai patterns and colors that are always woven into their clothing. Scotland Paul has a pair of brightly colored, vertically-striped Thai trousers that he wears everywhere. I’ll have to buy myself a pair before I leave. A couple of minutes after I watched the Burmese man loudly hock a loogey and spit in the mud, I turned left toward the home and he continued onward and upward.
The first thing I noticed were the little kids running around. They were laughing and playing with some of the cutest puppies I’ve ever seen. There were also two Geese, surrounded by about 5 or so goslings pecking around the grass in front of the women’s weaving center. I made my way to a Burmese woman sweeping outside, and asked her if she knew where the office was. She put her hands together under her chin and inclined her head in the formal Thai greeting, a Wai, and gestured for me to go through the open glass door she was standing beside. I went through, and after wandering through a small hallway, I found the office with another local woman inside who told me that Didi was in another room across the way, and that I should go there. Didi is the Thai word for “sister” I believe, and is what we call the house mothers. There are two Didis at Baan Unrak—one at the home and one at the school. Didi Anna, the one I was about to meet, is the founder of the entire Baan Unrak organization ( I think if you go to the my blog page called “About the Project,” and watch the video, you will see a clip of Didi being interviewed).
As I crossed the hallway, Didi’s head poked out of one of the doorways. I introduced myself as her new volunteer and asked her what she wanted me to do, as I had no clue where to go. She beckoned me inside the room (which turned out to be a room full of products from the weaving center), and introduced me to the four other girls that were in the room. Apparantly, these girls were working at a smaller home, similar to this one, in a nearby village and had decided to take a school-bus (truck) to come see Baan Unrak. The girls were all very nice, and I was glad to join there company for a bit.
We looked at the weaving products for a bit, and then Didi took us to look at the medical center. We weren’t all able to fit inside the small medical room, but from my doorway view, it didn’t look like much. There were small shelves of ointments and other foul smelling things, and in the corner was a walled off area with a door labeled “Homeopathic Medicine.” The young, thick haired Burmese gentleman who runs the medical center seemed nice enough…but I don’t know yet if I’d trust him to treat me for a medical condition. Didi Anna says that the school-Didi used to be a doctor, and that she would sometimes help with medical things.
When we left the medical center, about three little boys and the same number of puppies came barreling down the hallway right into our arms. The kids laughed gleefully as they ran around hugging us, grabbing our hands, swinging our arms. It was a bit startling, but you can’t help but fall in love with cute kids that so readily and openly love you. Didi excused herself to go be with some kids elsewhere in the house and left us to play with our new friends for a bit. I got out my camera to take a picture, and immediately one of the kids wanted to use it. I took a picture of him, and let him look at it, and before I knew it, he had the camera in his hands taking pictures of me, his friends, and anything else he could point the camera at. Haha……I haven’t had a chance to look at the pictures yet, so I’m not sure how they turned out.
I finally wrestled my camera away from him, and tickled him a bit to cheer him up, and then I followed the other girls to the entrance of Baan Unrak to wish them well. One of the boys followed me out (I think he’s about four) with his arms wrapped around my legs and his head resting on my bum. A little girl about six spotted us when we came outside and took my hand. When I tried to follow the other girls to the road leaving the home, the two kids got a tighter hold on me and held me back. Haha…..about then, I spotted Sima heading up the road, so I bid farewell to the touring volunteers, pulled free from my two little barnacles, and joined Sima in her walk back to the home.
She showed me where breakfast was served, so I took the bowl and fork I had brought with me from the house, and dished myself up some hot rice. The volunteer food was covered by a basket on a small wooden table, it had gone a bit cold, but I put it on my rice anyway. To be truthful….I had no clue what it was. Some kind of thin thai noodle dish, and some chopped up yellow, sponge-like thing, soaking in a yellow liquid with some kind of green vegetable floating around in it. I got water out of a tap on a large metal tank, and then sat down to enjoy my meal. It wasn’t my breakfast of choice, but I’ve found that if I think the words “I’m living in Thailand, and this is what I do here,” I can eat just about anything, sleep on wood, and take cold showers without feeling badly about it.
Scotland Paul was teaching his class in a small covered, outdoor area right by the eating area, so after I washed my dishes with an old sponge in the sink, rinsed them off with cold water, and took them back to the office, I joined his class of about nine students.
After a brief introduction from Paul, I began to teach them a little bit about what I believe as a Christian. I think that a few of them are Christian, but I’m not sure….even if they are Christian, any knowledge they have about the religion is pretty basic.
I gave them a brief overview of Christianity: The history, the basic beliefs, the fact that there are different churches within Christianity, and a little bit about the teachings of Christ. I’ve decided that the Atonement is not the easiest thing to explain to a bunch of kids who only speak a little bit of English, and who don’t know a lot about Christianity. I did the best I could though, and then told them stories about Christ’s life. I’m really pleased that I finished the Kingdom and the Crown Series right before I came, because it helped the words flow a lot better. The kids that had been struggling to pay attention to the doctrine and history bit, seemed to be entranced by the stories. I started with Christ’s birth—I invited one of the girls who already knew about the story to tell about Mary and the Donkey, and “sleeping on horse crap” as she put it….and I added the parts that she missed. Then I took over and told about Christ’s teachings, and the Jewish leaders getting angry, and then the garden of Gethsemane and Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. I told them that we believed Christ would come again to the earth to rule over the people, and that there would be no more sin in the Earth while he was here. I told him that as a Mormon, I believed in a life after death where we could continue to progress and become more like God. I ended my teaching by telling them how my religion is a huge part of who I am, and that I believe it makes me a better person. Overall, I think I did a pretty good job for an impromptu performance, I was happy to have the opportunity to teach a little bit. After I finished teaching I asked if anyone had any questions. A girl said something in Burmese and some other kids nodded their heads. Paul laughed and said that her response to my request for questions was “She’s pretty!” That made me smile.
I’ve been spending the last few hours in the office, but I think that in about an hour or so, New Zealand Paul is going to take me to start teaching English to some of the care mothers. I’m pretty excited about it. I like to teach and I look forward to spending time with the women here. They’re all so friendly =)
I realize that all my posts are incredibly long, and I hope none of you feel overwhelmed by them. I’m mainly keeping this blog for myself instead of a journal, and I figure that people can skim over whatever they don’t find interesting.
I love it here. The only thing that would make me happier would be for the dogs to allow me to sleep at night. Other than that, everything is great =)