Mae Chaem VSA1608 Community Living Episode 5

I chose to be a volunteer in the workcamp community development Mae Chaem for the simple reason that I wanted to use my free time to help people. But what I didn’t expect is that in shortly 2 weeks, I have spent an unforgettable journey.

We were an international group of volunteers who are coming from different places, the first few days we learnt from each other culture, how to break the walls and share together. It was the opportunity for me to understand different cultures and especially Thai culture.

Furthermore, we had the chance to discover how locals people of the village live in community, to understand their culture and tradition, to share their daily life.

We might say that it was an exchange of culture, but for me it was a strong relationship between individuals that make us a family.

Before coming to the camp, the only thing I was worrying was the teaching because I don’t like this exercise, so it was quite a challenge for me. Education is very important; school is the temple of knowledge . Even though teaching is exhausting, I don’t have anything to regret about my 2 weeks teaching because I know that everyday I gave all my energy trying to teach students and give them knowledge. If at the end of the day, you are proud of what you have done, then you can be satisfied and carry a smile.

Children are kind and nave, their world is so simple. Maybe we are giving some knowledge to students, but actually we will realize that we learn from them how to improve ourselves. For 2 weeks, I have understood that it wasn’t a teacher/students relationship that I was building, I was trying to break the wall and build bridges, to be as close as possible from them. We were working together in English. They have taught me how to enjoy little things in life, and I’m proud that I was a part of their growth.

One unforgettable moment for me (and I think for everyone) was to having the precious opportunity to teach hill tribes children. They are special, they all come from very far and different villages from the mountains. They left their family and came to this informal school to have the opportunity of receiving an education during 3 years, and this knowledge will help them to develop their village and preserve their tradition. Lastly, the performance they prepared for us left me speechless. It was beautiful.

At the end of the work camp, maybe I have achieved many things such as teaching, sharing locals’ daily life, farming and culture exchange. But I have the feeling that I learnt more than I have done for this village. I had a lesson of life. I was travelling a lot to have freedom, but on this road I found simplicity.

Thanks a million.

Stephane Chen