After out walk we started one of the longest days that we have had since I have been here! Our mission... visit village and do good!! I don't know any of the names of the village because they are all in Thai and that is a hard language for me to understand! But the first village that we went to today was a village that we are building an obstacle course at! I guess part of our team went over to figure out the needs of this village a few weeks ago. When they stopped by they saw all these pictures that the children of this village had drawn of an obstacle course that they dreamed of having one day! They currently do not have anything to play on or to really anything to get energy out. So that has become one of your projects!! We are trying to raise money to get supplies for it so If you feel like you would like to, or know any one who would like to donate to this cause then you can go here to do that!( http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/obstacle-course-for-northern-thailand-village)
We are also going to be doing some business training meetings with the women there in that village! They have been making some bamboo projects like bags and such to try to make money. Sadly they haven't been very successful so we are going back there on Wednesday to do some trainings with them and to learn how to make some of their products to help them. We are also going to help them market their products better so they can reach a wider audience. I have been asked to help with some business training, so I am going to be working with two other girls in that. I am really excited about that project! It is fun to be apart of something that will empower them and help them to gain more skills and increase their profit!
This is a picture of a sample of what they are making!
One of our main contacts for that project is a local women from that village. She is one of the most amazing women I have ever met! She has a heart of gold and does so many humanitarian projects just because she feels like it is the right thing to do! She lives in the village that we are doing the obstacle course in and where we are going to do the business meetings. After we were done with all of our projects in her village for the day she wanted to take us to a village that is near by that has a lot of needs.
I guess years ago this village was up in the mountains, but they started growing lots of drugs up there and the government found out and moved the entire village down the mountain. Kind of crazy huh? Where they are now they have no bathrooms, no running water, no school for the children, and most of the people are illiterate. They also have to walk down this steep hill three times a day to get water. It was a humbling thing to walk into that village yesterday.
We met with the founder of that village with the women from the other village. That woman from the other village has made it her personal mission to help this tribe. Her dream is the start a school for the children so they can learn and progress someday in life! She would also like to have a bathroom built there so the people can learn how to use it. Right now they just go anywhere and that has lead to a lot of sickness. So we talked to the founder and discussed some options and ways that we can help out.
After a successful meeting with them one of our country directors asked if we could help them gather their water before we left. They gladly agreed :) So we went around to all of the huts and gathered their water jugs that were just old oil can containers and started our trek down this steep hill! At first I thought this would be a piece of cake, but it was anything but that! It was one of the steepest hill I have climbed down! It was also really slippery! I couldn't believe that they had to make that trek three times a day just to get water! It was so humbling! One of the guys from the village is about my age and he was showing us where to go to get the water. It was amazing to see him just fly down that hill. He obviously has had a lot of practice! My heart was pumping so fast going up and down that hill! I think the combination of the humidity here being hard to breath in and how steep the hill was it was quite the workout! You could tell from the looks of the people who were there how grateful they were for our help. It was such a good feeling to be able to help them out in some small way before we left!
We had to walk quite a distance to get to this village so after filling up their water jugs we had to walk back to our truck, which was about 15 min from where we were. That continued to add to the cardiovascular workout that we were getting! :) The whole time we were walking I was feeling so grateful for the life that I have been blessed with. I am so grateful that I was born where I was born and have been blessed with the things that I have been blessed with. I will hopefully no longer take bathrooms for granted! And will be so grateful that I have easy access to water!
By this point we were already worn out but still had a ton of stuff left to do!
There is a store about 30 min from our house that is called Lotus and Tesco, it is just like Wal-Mart in the States. That is always a fun little stop because it feels like we are closer to home :) We stopped there for a little lunch break there at the local KFC :) It was amazing how good it tasted! I never drink pop, but at that time pop was all that I wanted because it felt American :)
After a recharge there we headed off to our last and most important stop of the day! Remember that I mentioned we helped build a school the other day?
When we were there last we made that assembly line to help take buckets pull of cement down to all of those footings (I think that is what they are called). It was HARD work! We were all feeling crazy sore the next day after this! But it was so fun to see how grateful the people were in that village and for the help that we gave them. I can't even imagine how long it would have taken them to do all that we did! We were there about 6 hours working and there was still more to do!
So yesterday the fun continued! This time we only worked for about 3 hours and we got a lot more done! This is the kind of work that I pictured myself doing while in Thailand, so it was fun to get to work and get dirty! We all got super dirty too!
After we finished laying some more cement we all got changed and then the kids did a traditional little dance for us, and me and one of my good friends here taught some classes! She taught the importance of washing our hands and I taught them about Oral Hygiene. Both of our country directors served their missions here so they speak fluent Thai and were our translators! It was so fun even though they couldn't understand me! It was so cute!
(This was a few of us before we went to change after we worked on cement for hours)
(One of the cute kids at the village!)
The group of kids we taught the classes to!!
This little girl loves her toothbrush!!
It was a long and exhausting day, but it was a good day too! I loved that we spent the whole day in the service of other people!