An Ode to Thai Children


Anna McGillicuddy, 129 YinD

most days I struggle to teach you in Thai without feeling deflated
but your forgiving eyes and big smiles are in languages that need not be translated.
you’re told to “speak english!” whenever there’s a foreigner around
your shyness interpreted as stupidity, an excuse for them to crack down.

but what of your creativity, curiosity, openness and love?
all different forms of intelligence, most we’re told to grow out of.
it’s better to look to books and people ‘wiser’ for ‘right’ answers,
focus on what we’re supposed to know, supposed to feel, ‘supposed to’, the true cancer.

but here I am, standing before you as you sit with a playdough poop in your lap
lips fighting to contain your laugh, hoping I fall into your poopy, booby trap
and somehow, it’s here, that I remember my peace corps doodie,
to encourage and explore those intelligences, those ones that yield true beauty

for on the days where I feel like I’m drowning, when this job seems just too damn hard
it’s your faces I think of, it’s your laughter I mimic, it’s you, my kids, my lifeguards.
and to think it was I who thought I would be teaching you,
how silly, when now I realize that the exact opposite is true.


Read Anna’s previous articles PCVs or Spartans?Fight and FlightFinding Balance, and Mornings in Thailand and listen to her on the My Peace Corps Story podcast.

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