Saturday, March 24, 2012

Life in moobaan 17

It has been quite a week in my house in my village.

I've previously talked about my tookay and how sad I was last fall when he disappeared. When I moved in there were 2 and then there was one and then none. I missed the nightly good night call "tookay,tookay, tookay" very loud and frequent. But it was a reminder that my guard tookay was on duty and all was well. So, I was very excited a couple of weeks ago when he returned.

I was also just a little smug. My tookay knew that his place was on my front porch and not in my house like some other PCV tookays. Then, this little tookay showed up in my bathroom! Right next to my shower. A little disconcerting, but he seems harmless.

I was thinking recently that as the hot season gets into high gear, the centipedes will return and right on schedule:

So much for this bath water!

I headed out the door to work and was greeted by a swarm of bees and blood on my front porch. My first thought was Oh No, my tookay, but he was fine. I asked by balat who to call for the bees and she said she would send the firemen to check it out, of course! And they would also look at the blood (she suggested a gecko and I said too much blood for a gecko and another gal said a menstruating dog and I said too much blood for that too). The firemen said there were no bees but "like bees" and they would go away when it gets hot (seriously, how hot does it have to get!)and they asked my neighbors about the blood and they said there was a serious cat fight that night. Sad.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cotton tree

The Kapok Tree in these photos is finishing up producing pods with cotton inside. After the pods drop, the leaves come back, when they drop, large beautiful red flowers appear and then form the green pod in the first photo. The cotton is used to stuff mattresses and pillows, which in Thailand, tend to be very hard!

Local Administration Sports Day

Sports Days are big in Thailand. Schools have them, tessabaans get together with other tessabaans and have them and earlier this week, our local government had one. Soccer, volleyball, ta kraw and botchi ball were all serious competition with bragging rights and trophies at stake. I played soccer, very poorly, but about average for my team. The guys played serious soccer as opposed to the gals who were fairly pathetic! Everyone was much better at volleyball. The afternoon ended with a party complete with Chinese hot pot cooking, karaoke, dancing and lots of drinking!

This is the nayok (mayor) playing takraw. A small hallow ball made of plastic (formerly bamboo) is sent over the net by kicking or heading. Tough game!

The ref and Director of Education

Hospitality courtesy of the youngest females, always

Photos above and below are dancers. These guys were great!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

An Abundance of Riches!

Just returned to site after two days in BKK. Visited Books for Thailand, an ngo that distributes books in English to schools and libraries throughout Thailand. You have to go to their office and they help you find appropriate material. This was my second trip. While I like and appreciate the concept, it seems to be a bit of a dumping ground for American textbook publishers. Lots and lots of textbooks from throughout the United States, but really Florida Geography probably is a stretch for a Thai school. I picked up 18 books and I’m afraid I did a little greng jai-ing myself. Khun Amorn is so helpful and is so pleased with herself when she finds what she thinks is the perfect book, well sometimes you just have to go with it.
The real benefit of the trip was the Soroptimist International Club of Bangkok, an international group of women dedicated to improving the lot of Thai children through education. There are about 50 in the group and about half were at the luncheon. They were from Thailand of course, but also America, Canada, England, and India. They invited me to speak about PC and about the library for which they had been collecting books. I’m still in putting the books into my system, but I am sure there are over 100 very nice books. I presented a slide show and then fielded lots of questions. I have suggested that PC and Soroptimist get to know each other better, starting with a visit by the gals to the PC office. Hope it happens.
It was fun! Reminded me of what I used to do for SOS – speak to a group about something I truly believe in. And I am their guest at their fund raiser gala in October, very excited about that. I miss those events with the great food and fun auctions and guests sharing a common purpose.

Voralak, on the left, has been my contact and amazing supporter, sending boxes of books she has been collecting. Dawn is the President of the group.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Library – Kindergarten Tour & Update

This week Kruu Som Ded brought his class to the library for a tour. We have been reading books to the class to encourage the students to join, but only 3 had so far. They were very excited and all left with a library card application to take to their families. Three teachers also came and took applications with them. In April bit term begins, which is a 6 week vacation from school. During that time I have a session with the Child Development teachers on why reading to students every day is so important. It is not a common practice, never seen it or heard of it happening in my area of Thailand. The government has identified lack of libraries and lack of reading (even though most people in Thailand can read) as a priority issue to address. We’ll see!!
Update - We now have about 600 titles, 450+ English books and 125 Thai books, most of them donated! Next week I am going to Bangkok to visit Books for Thailand and to speak at the Soroptimist International Bangkok luncheon about the library. Will collect books at both events.
We opened January 13 and in less than two months now have 52 members, have given out 18 Reading Awards, and over 200 books have been checked out. We have plans to encourage active participation by teachers and contests to motivate children. We’re on our way!
Thanks for believing in the mission and generously supporting!

On the bus!

The library tour. You can see Reading Club Awards on the wall.

Playing hopscotch after the flannel story "Rain Rain Go Away" - students picked what they wanted to play after the rain and hopscotch was an option. Some of them were familiar with the game.

My favorite part!