4 seasons in one month
Think Bigger Volunteering in Thailand Episode 1
Agata Klijewska A Polish volunteer who participated the activities in Thailand for 6 months in Think Bigger project from 1 October 2019 - 1 April 2020
Do you know that second spring this year started on Oct 1st? If not, keep reading the story!
Once upon a time, while the sun came out from behind the clouds, the temperature rose 20 degrees in an instant and the Scot plane came down at the Hat Yai airport, it was clear that something special had just happened. Can you guess what already? Yes, you’re right! A new EVS project at VSA Thailand had just started.
First week of my new, voluntary life was like a spring - fresh colors, surprising flavors, newly met people, diverse culture. I attended the Buddy Program at the Thaksin University in Songkhla where I met a lot of friendly students, other local volunteers as well as two international volunteers: Nadine from Austria and Savin from Switzerland. I also had a chance to see and taste the Vegetarian Festival (The Nine Emperor Gods Festival) and last but not least - I started learning Thai with irreplaceable Fa!
Summer came along with higher temperatures, greater delights and new, wonderful experiences. In the second week, I visited a local farm, organic market, amazing Ko Yo island with its Folklore Museum but the highlight of that season was... making coconut oil! The opportunity to prepare this product by myself was an unforgettable experience that I will remember for a looooong time. If you also want to learn how to scratch a coconut, visit the VSA youtube channel: How to make Coconut Oil (Home Made)
In the middle of the month there was a solstice. With the end of an important Buddhist Event - Buddhist Lent the autumn began.
The Chak Phra Festival is one of the most important events on the Buddhist calendar and symbolizes the Buddha’s return to earth. On this day, the locals organize a procession of pulling the Buddha image to assured the rain pouring seasonally. Glutinous rice cooked with coconut milk and wrapped in banana leaves is a dish that is prepared during this period.
After the procession, the local festival begins. There is a large market with food, competitions are organized, e.g. for the largest number of wrapped rice purses or boxing on a stake set up in the river. Attending such an important festival was a great distinction for me.
As expected, the rain came. And with the rain - my so-called winter. In the fourth week I had the opportunity to give a presentation about Poland for students of Economics at Thaksin University. I also met their lecturer, Professor of Economics and I spent almost the whole day with them, talking not only about Poland but also exchanging insights about the similarities and differences of our cultures, habits and everyday life. Additionally, it was a good chance for me to see what a day at a Thai university looks like. I am very happy that my winter began with meeting such amazing people at 30 degrees Celsius.
The week ended at the Floating Night Market (Khlong Hae Floating Market) in Hat Yai with the bowl of spicy Papaya Salad (Som Tum), which heralded only one thing - new adventures at its place of origin, Isaan!