Community Development 

When I travel I like getting to know the culture and experience more than just Instagram friendly places. Therefore, I joined the project at VSA. I have already done a similar project in India and Sri Lanka during the last couple months, so I wasn’t much afraid, but I tried to make no expectations. You can only get less disappointed with no expectations. 

Once we arrived at the meeting point, it was a bit confusing and we didn’t know what’s happening. It got better once everyone came as the orientation started. However, it seemed that many people wanted to improve their English language skills, so not everyone could speak very well. I accepted that challenge and tried to speak slowly and with easier vocabulary. I believe we all managed to communicate pretty well after all.

Talking slowly and using more basic vocabulary was necessary when we were teaching at school, so it was a good exercise. Besides teaching English, we also had an opportunity to learn about eco farming and tried many activities in small ecofarms. For few days, we went to a Temple where an opening festival took place and we helped there with the festival. That was interesting to see as it is so different from what I know from Europe. Another community helping activity was cleaning up few tourist places we visited. I enjoyed that, but I think it would require a long term program and education also in the area so the local people would try to keep it clean. 

Overall, we had a very good time as a group once we got to know each other a little bit. We enjoyed the activities together, playing games and just having fun. I enjoyed staying in a village instead of a beach resort as it was a great opportunity to see a different picture of Thailand. We were also excited to learn some Thai which was actually so much fun, at least for us. Our campleader, Que, may have a different opinion as he had to listen to the same words with our bad pronunciation again and again, but he was very patient ;) 

To sum it up, we experienced Thai culture in a very unique way. We did many diverse activities and had lots of fun despite the language barriers that we overcame in the end. That I’m grateful for, because it helped me get a better bond with Thailand. 

Barbora Plecháčková, volunteer from Czech republic  in VSA2403-3 Community Development/Home Stay - Songkhla 18-30/03/24