Into TGL: My Experience in Thailand
July 5, 2016
The Green Lion
“When I look into the eyes of these children, I know why once I decided to become a teacher!”
Some of you may know the feeling. Suddenly you find yourself in a place out of the spot, new and strange but you are happy! You start asking yourself “How did I make my way to be just here at this very place?”
This happened to my on my train track journey, organised by the Green Lion in December 2015 up to the north to Chiang Mai, Thailand. I was part of a teaching program for 2 months and in between I took a week off teaching to explore the country. I was the only “Falange“ (foreigner) on the train, me in the middle of nearly 35 C degrees, sweating incredibly, looking out of the window at endless rice fields, banana and coconut trees, in between temples and simple houses made just out of wood. There was the smell of thousands of new spices as so many people are selling food I never had smelt or tasted before! I had the feeling to be on another planet, although I was still on my mother planet, the Earth. But on the other hand, I was not lonely, I felt warmth and happiness!
Each plan has a wish to go ahead. My purpose of the journey was to travel and see Asia, but not only as a tourist. What I wanted was to explore a country based on an attitude of sharing different cultures and finding out about each others way of life, in a way and eye to eye level, not looking down to the other one or even feeling better! Giving something without expecting anything.
My first impressions when I arrived in Lemon House in Singburi was a place at the river Noi, so quiet and calm. I often sat by the river, just relaxing, finding my thoughts, travelling around or just meditating or drawing one of my many pictures I did there. Once or twice one of the people working for Green Lion joined me, starting a good talk about life and its problems. It was also the home of one or two homeless dogs, which are there so many in Thailand. We were told not to feed them, as they are born wild and free but it was hard not to do so!
During my first week of introduction, I had the chance to see so many temples around the area of Sing Buri. For example – Wat Phikun Thong. I loved the shade and quietness there, I also found them very clean and I often prayed there as I learned what the word “spiritual” really means! Its the combination of SPIRIT AND RITUAL, so you teach your thoughts and do it ritual by lightening a candle or helping those who need your help! Respect yourself, respect the others and take responsibility – this is what I could learn!
My first day at Anuban Promburi School was really amazing. The director of the school gave me a lift to school every day! He and the other teachers were wearing an uniform to show their respect.
The teachers team is so friendly and the children brought me some water. I felt like a VIP as they always tried to fulfill my wishes!
The morning started with an assembly of all the students and teachers to worship Buddha and the king.
When I entered the classroom a warm welcome met me with “Good moring teacher, how are you today?”
Together with other participants, a conversations starts, happy and with so much interests of the children. They really want to learn English, they are still eager to learn although the language is not easy for them, but they try and try.
The kids there are just kids, laughing, warm and heartful. You look into the eyes and there you meet a so warm smile which goes through your heart! It is amazing and makes me happy, it fills up my emotional heart and I get back so much I never had before in my time as a teacher! The lesson ends with a “Thank you teacher”. I have lunch at school with all the other teachers and I feel like a part of a big wonderful family, never as a stranger or a tourist! I can learn Thai slowly and I also teach the teachers English – we slowly get closer to each other – a friendship growths.
It is sad but true: So many children are still poor in Thailand, which means formally the children at the orphanage are short of material goods like clothes, food, school things, the conditions of living like there sleeping places, toilets and playground always needs to be supported. When I saw this first I was in a bit of a shock, but then I found out that in the middle of this material poorness they are happy kids, laughing and smiling! As they share things and they have each other to support! THEY are not poor in their heart!
So when I left Thailand and the School and orphanage, the wish in myself grew to keep in touch with them and to help them. I started a donation program to help the children by holding speeches here in my home country Austria, for the money to bring back. I returned a month later to give the donation to the kids which was like coming home again!
The circle is closed, I got friends for a lifetime! Thank you Green Lion, thank you kids and people in Thailand! I could learn so much from you, my heart is full of love, my attitude towards life grew – as life is like a river – keeps moving! I love you!