Saturday, August 27, 2011
Most of my blogs have been about Thai cultural stuff, my village, or my personal issues. I actually am working and getting some stuff done! Mostly I teach English, to my office staff, the kindergarten, and village kids for a Saturday morning storytime. English instruction is probably the most requested service of a volunteer worldwide, so if you are not serving as a teacher (I am not) it can eat up your time and prevent you from doing projects related to your job. I think I have a good balance, keeping to 3 sessions a week and suggesting additional requests join a group already in progress.
I thought my first project would be related to the elderly in my area. I frequently go on social welfare visits with community development people in the office. Many elderly (over 60!) live in poverty, especially those whose family has moved to the city for work. Traditionally, multiple generations live together and care for each other. This is breaking down somewhat due to economics and younger people not wanting to stay in the village. I had done some research on the issue and was discussing with the community development people when my balat said no, that the elderly were fine and already had services and she wanted me to work with youth. Sooooo, take a deep breath, remember it is not about me, and change gears.
I am actually excited to be working on the Children’s English Library and love how my family and friends at home have joined the project. It started out as a request for books to supplement my teaching and has blossomed to a library that will be part of a new cultural center nearing completion. I am energized by the project and writing grants to organizations I am hoping will contribute. Next week I am attending a PC workshop on project development with my counterpart. It is funny how things work out, as in a previous life (many moons ago) I was a reading specialist and when my kids were growing up loved volunteering for the reading and library programs. Story time at our house was always a priority! So I guess this is a natural path for me to take. I’ll update you along the way.
Interviewing an elderly woman with community development staff.
The Children's English Library and Cultural Center under construction.
Storytime at my house.
I spend a lot of time making flannel stories for storytime! I can't find flannel or felt anywhere in Thailand so many thanks go to my Mom and Dad, Aunt Nan, and Steve and Kristine for sending me a great supply. This one is Duck Duck Goose compliments of the Dennis family in Reno. Thanks guys!!