Going to Thailand was a very eye opening experience for me. I was reminded of myself. Going and staying in more of the rural areas felt comfortable for me. Staying in a homestay where there’s no ac felt comfortable. It reminded me of home, where it’s always insanely hot or raining as the rainy season in Guyana is also May and June. Going to the villages left a large impression on me because they are so happy and content with the little that they have. They enjoy their lives the way it is. The don’t crave unnecessary material things. They appreciate the small things in life. Being at the Hmong village and seeing the children playing with each other but just running around and enjoying each other’s company happily as ever reminded me that I was once a kid like that. I used to be happy with the little that my family had. I didn’t constantly want new and popular things.
I was also reminded how lucky I am to be able to obtain the education I am getting right now. I know as students we are constantly complaining about school and now even wanting to go to class even though we pay thousands of dollars for it. We forget how lucky we are, we should be thankful that we are able to get an education. We should be thankful that it’s so convenient for us to go to school, unlike these kids in Thailand who have to leave their families to get and education at an early age. Or kids who do not get an education because their priority is to help their families with another source of income to help their family survive.
Also, when we were at the school playing charades there was a little girl who sat next to me and overtime we got a new word she would look at me to tell her what it meant in English and then should would write the English words in the palm of her hands. She inspired and reminded me about my joy of learning . Her excitement helped me find my own again for that I am very thankful.
I am most thankful for Thailand because I was able to push myself and discover new strengths. I was also able to overcome my fear of heights. Hiking was something I fell in love with and plan on doing again as well as zip lining and those are things I wouldn’t ever plan on doing if it hadn’t been in Thailand. I am also very grateful for the amazing group of girls who I was able to experience this trip with, who were a great support system and who were always up for an adventure.
I was also able to learn that I was interested in Buddhism and I was also inspired to learn more about my own religion because being in Thailand I felt that believing in something or living your life a specific way based on a belief was something I was interested in and it’s something I feel I need in my life.
Community and Poverty
Coming to Thailand, I was amazed by the great sense of community that I saw. From everywhere, to the School, the elephant camp, the Hmong village and the Elder Home. This sense of community really spoke to me because it’s not something I see often in the states. It’s also something I miss seeing. Growing up in Guyana, there was always a sense of community and strong bonds with families, neighbors and villages. I was very excited when I saw that sense of community here because it reminded me of home and it reminded me of my own values. When we were at the Elder home and they were talking about reasons for these elders to end up there, one of the reason was because they were abandoned. I can’t imagine what kind of person could and would do that to their own parents. Especially if the come from a culture that values community so much. That was one thing that really stuck out to me and just stayed in my head through out the day. It made me think about what if that were my parents, I could never imagine myself abandoning my parents. That experience just made me think a lot about how I let over community, especially within my family.
Another thing I noticed about community is that Thai people, as well as the different ethnic are very welcoming and caring people. From walking down the streets, to the hotel staff, going to the school, village and elder home, everyone has made us feel welcomed. When the students at the school took time to prepare our lunch for us, I thought that was amazing. Their hospitality towards strangers was something I admired. I especially appreciated how welcomed I felt in the Hmong village. I know that the Chief, and whom I believe was his sons, and the other folks that were showing us around and helping us out, they took time out of their day to accommodate us. I’m sure they had other things to do, like their jobs or helping out to take care of other things around the village. I just found it amazing how great everyone in this country has been towards us, and how inclusive they have been.
One thing I absolutely loved was that though there’s so much poverty here, an example is the school and the Hmong village, the children were so happy, they were carefree and just enjoying themselves. Seeing that makes me so happy because since I was once that child. But since I’ve been in the US, I became so dependent on material things that I forget about how much happiness can come from just the very simple things in life. Seeing the joy in these kids, I’m amazed and it also helps me reflect on my life and I think about all the things I take for granted. They have inspired me so much that I’m already thinking about ways to lessen myself of material things when I go back to the states.
Overall, one main thing I’ve noticed is that poverty and community is something that’s very intertwined. In the places with more poverty there’s more community which is something that makes me think about us as a society and our own values
As we were driving to the temple, I was very curious as to where we were going. All I saw was nature, for a second I thought we were lost. After getting to the temple, I was very skeptical, I questioned why we were there. After entering the temple and witnessing the community that was there my opinion and skepticism completely changed. It was a really great experience to the amazing community that I saw at the temple. I also really appreciated how welcoming they were to us. One goal I have for myself is to keep a complete open mind with no expectations. My expectations of the temple was very eye opening to me which is why for this trip I want to keep a complete open mind and fully embrace the Thai culture to the fullest.