This year’s GCW, I went to Chiang Mai, which is in the Northern part of Thailand. There were 20 students and two teachers on the trip. On Saturday, we flew from Bangkok to Chiang Rai, as Chiang Rai’s airport is closer to the place we’d be staying at. We then travelled by van to Maekok, and stopped at the Outdoor Education Center, which is a part of the Maekok River Village Resort.

There, we participated in many community service projects. We built the foundation and painted the walls of Mae Salak School’s multi-purpose room, which would be later used to hold meetings and assemblies. While there, we also taught English to the students. After our jobs were completed for the day, we would have free time. During this time, we would hang out at the Bamboo Club and buy food and drinks. Although there was a swimming pool, no one swam. I liked this GCW course a lot since I got to hang around with my friends. Not only that, this GCW was a great community service course filled with different community service tasks.

Most of the week was spent building and teaching at Mae Salak School. During the last GCW, I was also painting and teaching children, so I was somewhat accustomed to the tasks given. The construction part of GCW Maekok was similar to the Habitat for Humanity builds I have been on, while the teaching reminded me of my times in Bali. On the first day, we smashed walls out of a school in the area. During this task, the swing of the hammer accidentally hit my finger. At this moment, the bruise has not completely healed. The debris gotten from the wall smashing was brought to Mae Salak School. Everything was poured onto the floor inside the multi-purpose room. We were to fill the room with the debris. We did this by forming lines and passing the buckets of debris to the room. This was efficiently done, and surprisingly we didn’t use up that much time. During this time, we learned a lot about constructing buildings.

The other half of the time was spent teaching the students. I wasn’t as nervous about this because I also taught the year before in Bali. Since I am Thai, communication was much easier than last year’s GCW. I was able to communicate to the students what I had wanted them to do. My group did pretty well with the older students, but someone struggled with the younger ones. I now know how frustrated teachers would get when his or her students don’t listen to him or her. We improvised when the students didn’t listen, and had to change our plans. This has taught me to “think on my feet”, as nothing ever goes 100% according to plan.

Apart from the community service aspect of the trip, we also went hiking and rafting. The hiking took us up to a village inhabited by mountain tribes. Although they were technically Thai, their traditions differed from what I was raised up in. Not only that, the people seemed perfectly content even though they did not have all the conveniences we did, which made me realize that my complaints are mostly self-centered. On one of the nights, we were introduced to the Confidence Challenge course. I passed successfully after gathering all of my determination. I guess it really did affect my confidence positively. I have learned so much from this trip about myself as I’ve done so many things I’ve never thought possible.

 

 

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