2,700 km Away from Home

Media Content Creator Project in Dan Khun Thot Thailand February 5-10, 2024
by Heyma Aqira, Indonesia 

Growing up in a small town taught me to dream big. From breakfast to dinner, sometimes all we can talk about is when we can go far from our home to achieve something big. So, I took a big step coming to Thailand not just to explore but to learn about the cultures and the knowledge that came within.

 Thailand. I came with a positive mindset, ready to explore this beautiful country. Now it’s about me and my luggage coming up and down the MRT stations and the sidewalk after a 6-hour flight. Confused but not lost. This time, I promised to be brave since I was alone here. 

Dan Khun Thot. I spent 3 hours inside this bus looking from the passenger window. It must be fun to travel like this to teach other kids about new knowledge I bring from home. As I stepped on the bus, I wandered on the sidewalk about all the people I would meet and be my friends during the 6 days of my volunteering journey. 

Aom introduced me to her beautiful hometown and sweet best friend, Baibua. Then, I met Chaewon, Hyeonseo, and Yeji. My little ‘sisters’ from Korea are always excited and want to try everything. Our first day started simple as I looked at the purple sky. It was serene, and then I mumbled, “I want to spend all my life here.” Rice and sugarcane fields, kids happily riding their bikes, people sleeping in their front yards with their hammocks, warm greetings, hugs, and flavorful food; I definitely will go back to this place again. 

Ban Krogluek Primary School. It is such a lovely place with lovely people inside. The warm greetings from the students and the teachers made me feel accepted as I belonged there. I spent 2,700 km Away from Home Heyma Aqira, Indonesia Media Content Creator Project in Dan Khun Thot Thailand February 5-10, 2024 two days in this school teaching English and Bahasa Indonesia, and I’ll never forget their laughs, smiles, hugs, and how they taught me about Thai words that I can use daily here. Our last day was spent practicing traditional dance from Indonesia, and it was very nerve-racking to teach the students and the teachers about my hometown and the cultures. It was so much fun, and I might revisit this school soon. 

Ban Mapgrad Primary School. I got my Thai name from the incredible teachers here, and they called me Malee, which means flower. It’s not different from the previous school; they’re also a close-knit community. They look out for each other. It’s just melted my heart. I also spent my two days here to share my knowledge and cultures and learn from them how these kids and these schools are so amazing. The kids were washing their dishes after they ate, and before and after school time, all of them cleaned the class; they were very respectful to the teachers and their friends. It was a sight to see.

For six days during my volunteer week, I have already learned many new perspectives and new knowledge and made new friends. As a teacher, I can implement what I’ve learned here at my school. Discipline, gratitude, hard work, creativity, a warm environment, kindness, and simplicity, I soaked them all in. I can’t wait to show my students and my colleagues about this unforgettable experience. 

I let myself float on the wind, far from my hometown to a beautiful country across the sea. I came across a different me. I want to inspire my students and colleagues back in my hometown, bringing back all the things I’ve learned in Thailand. I’m forever grateful to know all of these incredible people that I’ve met in Dan Khun Thot, and I learn a lot from them.