After 3 weeks of travelling and volunteering, we are on our way home. I think that we can all agree on that this has been an amazing, but also challenging, experience. Therefore, I think that we are all ready to finally go home and reflect on what we have been doing, since there have been so many impressions and experiences all at once.
To summarize our three weeks, we have built a toilet for a preschool/kindergarten, built a dam, done some gardening, planted both dry and wet rice, and built stairs (all in the first village of Maelaoop), planted 3000 trees during our reforestation project, cut corn, planted grass, fed the elephants, and cleaned their shelters (at the Elephant Nature Park). Furthermore, our trip has also involved other activities and experiences that have contributed to the development of our understanding of the Thai culture, volunteering in general, ecotourism, and the tragic exploitation of animals. We have had the chance to explore the Thai culture closely by participating in several ceremonies (e.g. at the school in Maelaoop village, at Buddhist temples, at the ENP) and by working together with locals. We have been taught how we can make a change even after leaving Thailand, and the trip in its entirety has left us inspired and motivated to do so in the name of a better world for humans and animals.
Before I finish this blogpost, there are a few things the group wants to point out about our return; there are routines that we are now used to that might affect families and friends at home. Such routines include the following:
- standing up, or squatting, rather than sitting down on the toilet seat;
- using a bucket to fill with water to clean ourselves, rather than using the shower at home;
- digging random holes in the backyard;
- shouting "waterbreak!!" every 5-10 minutes;
- sleeping on the floor;
- sleeping under a mosquito net, as this is the only way to feel safe in the night;
- eating rice for breakfast;
- tieing pieces of orange fabric around the neighbours' trees;
- applying mosquito repellant every other hour;
- bringing dirty working gloves everywhere because you never know when it's time to dig another hole;
- purchasing a large picture of the Swedish king to admire and worship;
- always walked bowed passed parents and the elderly, also including teachers;
- washing the hair only once a week, and then tell everyone how amazingly nice it is;
- washing the dishes outside in buckets with water;
- always being 15 minutes early to everything;
- never planning anything ever again, because things will eventually work out anyways;
- always cover shoulders and knees and freak out if someone's showing too much skin.
We will see you soon.