The next part of our blog will be pictures and updates from students, enjoy!
After our week of Thai class and human rights discussions, we decided to use our free time to go out on the town! In Thai culture, the social lives of young people revolve around central meeting areas such as the mall. Embracing this fact, we chose to go to Central Plaza Mall on Saturday. There, we saw a movie, played in the arcade, and experienced the hustle and bustle of youthful Khon Kaen. Later in the afternoon, we walked over to the city shrine across the street. We read our fortunes and enjoyed the park. Once it got dark, we took an open-air Tuk Tuk taxi from Central to the famous Walking Street night market. I've never seen so much food in one area in my life! They had everything from pancakes to squid, sushi to chicken, and Thai tea to Thai toast. Local artisans made hand-crafted goods while other vendors displayed and sold clothes, shoes, practically everything! It was a sight to be seen for sure. After a successful day and quick ride back to the U-Center, we went back to the dorms to rest and get ready for the next day at the waterpark...
Today we took a trip north to Nong Khai near the border with Laos. We got to see large statues at Salakaeoku and walked along the Mekong River where we ate a traditional Isaan meal at a floating restaurant.
Today we went to the Khon Kaen Zoo which featured deer. The zoo was ZOOper cool! We slithered on to the King Cobra Village and watched Thai snake boxing. We had oodles of fun eating noodles on the way to Ubonrat Dam.
We had dam fun! Our experience seeing the Ubonrat Dam Buddha was completely zen! To THAI it up, we discovered that we Khon KAEN do anything!
On July 20th the group had an exciting day of Thai class, including a scavenger hunt at a local market. Everyone had the chance to practice our Thai with the local vendors using phrases like "lót" for "discount" and "thõa-rài" for "how much". We had a specific list of objects to find for a decent price in a limited amount of time. Each group looked thoroughly to find each object and return to the checkpoint in time. Ajaan Nid Noi and Ajaan Jeab took the class out for ice-cream at Mister Lee's to announce the winners and to have a delicious ("à-ròi") treat. Group 2 ended up winning a pizza as their prize for finding the most objects in a decent amount of time. Later in the day, the class discussed a reading we analyzed called "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack," by Peggy McIntosh, for homework. The group sat in a circle on the ground and shared our thoughts on how the article made us feel and any other opinions we had while scanning the article. After class, everyone was reminded about the trip to Rasi Salai for the weekend where we will have the chance to ask questions in relation to the Dam. Everyone is very excited to find out who our host family will be for the weekend and to speak to the locals of Rasi Salai.
Today we discussed the logistics of the community stay and the English Camp that are both coming up. We have planned details through discussing different effective methods of teaching and taking the environment into consideration. We will be visiting the community to understand more about the issues the dam has caused for the wetlands and livelihood of the locals in Rasi Salai. This will allow us to make the English Camp more effective and educate the youth about the environment around them.
First day of the English camp and the kids taught me just as much as I taught them!
Thursday, July 27th was the second day of our Environmental English Camp. We began the day with a 30 minute exercise which lead into breakfast. After a quick review of the vocabulary from the day before, the kids participated in a talent show. It was really fun to see all the different performances. Shortly after, the children left for their schools and we headed back to Khon Kaen.