Every volunteer has a unique experience depending on the location, religion, and traditions of their site. Each month we will explore a new volunteer’s site through the eyes of a visiting volunteer to show how similar yet different serving in Thailand can be.
Kaori Cierra Yamamoto, 129 TESS
Abbey Weiler, 129 TESS
Why did you visit?
I visited to experience Abbey’s site over last October’s Bpit Term.
What did you do in the community while visiting?
Visited Abbey’s Host Dad’s field/farm to chill and bird hunt, visited Abbey’s school and started Halloween decorations, weekend boat house trip with her host family, and Muay Thai lessons at night!
Describe the community.
Rural, quaint, small, and friendly community that felt intimate and comfortable.
Describe where Abbey lives and her host family.
Abbey lives in a small community about 30-40 minutes away from the main street. The small dirt roads aren’t traveled much by cars and most people walk or ride their motorcycles to the small and lively market about a 5 minute walk from her home.
Describe Abbey’s school, teachers, and students.
Abbey’s classroom was gorgeous and new! I was so inspired by her space and envious of her shiny new tile floors. Her classroom windows open up to the beautiful and colorful temple right next door. I didn’t get to meet her students or teachers because the school was closed for bpit term but I was able to see how organized and intentional Abbey’s classroom set-up was and eager to create that in my school.
What were some highlights from your trip?
Swimming in the dam with her host family, trying to sit on floating bamboo sticks, and jumping into the water to wash my hair first thing in the morning.
What surprised you about Abbey’s community?
How rural her community was and that everything was an easy walk away (3 minute walk to market & Muay Thai across the street) and that she was that close to a dam!
Explain the similarities and differences between your site and Abbey’s site.
Host fam life felt pretty similar in that when it was time to eat the siblings called us to “gin kao” but the family dynamics were different because she has a younger brother, who loves to barge in her room and play, and I have an older sister, who is more like my mom. My family goes to the temple very often to funerals, monk ordinations, or Buddha days, but Abbey’s family does not so her first time in her temple was with me just as curious visitors. The travel to get to her site from the bus station is almost 4x longer than mine, which made me realize how easy I have it and how hard it could be. Both of our communities feel welcoming, comfortable, and like home to me.