Saturday, March 5, 2011

First Site Visit

I took a regional bus to my site. Three of us were together and met up with our hosts in front of the 7/11, except mine! She misinterpreted 7 to mean 7 pm and not 7/11, so everyone very politely waited another hour and took me to another spot to meet up with my group. Thais are very accommodating.
The tan nayok (2nd in command), the balat (city manager), a driver, and 3 staff from my tessaban came to get me in a very nice van. Tessaban is like the county level of government. We went to a beautiful restaurant for lunch and headed to the home of the Director of Finance who was putting me up for the night. She had a very nice family and 3 dogs that were friendly, wagged their tails, and were well cared for. Did my heart good!
We attended a celebration at the Wat which entailed circumnavigating the Wat 3 times while dancing and listening to incredibly loud music both in front and behind each group of dancers. My group wore blue t-shirts, it was so hot! A group of rowdy teen-agers joined us to the disapproving looks of the dancers. There is a growing issue of drugs and gangs in the country. I think I saw my first taste. I can just imagine there is not a thing to do for teenagers in remote areas.
The next day I got a VIP tour of my new village. Went to the tessaban, the child development center, 2 health stations, the hospital, and an organic fertilizer group. I introduced myself, in Thai, many times, and hopefully did not embarrass myself too much. A lot of my name is, I am from, I am a – you get the idea. They are excited to have a PCV and talking to them and observing, several ideas came to mind. My job though is to wait and see what they want and to become a member of the community first. To work with Thais, you must first be their friend.
I briefly met my new host family who I will live with the month of April. I will be looking for my own place, which I am very ready for.

Dancing in the street

My room

Happy dogs!

Cute Thai kids

Tessaban staff

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