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Monique’s Site Through Psian’s Eyes

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.

Psian Aviles, 130 YinD

Volunteer Visited
Monique Ogunsusi, 130 TESS

Volunteer’s Site
Ban Phot, Phetchabun

Why did you visit?
We missed each other. 🙂

What did you do in her community while visiting?
While visiting Ban Phot I had the opportunity to go to the amphur Nong Phai and get yummy food and veggies at the huge market, we biked about 5 miles to a place called Box Bistro which is a cafe made out of freight containers. We ate insanely delicious pizza and watched the sunset together and ended our day by watching The Help on Netflix (her WiFi is bomb). The next day we biked to her school, met all of her magical and wonderful P2, P6 and M2 students and treated ourselves to some cha yen after music club.

Describe her community.
Ban Phot is a cute little gem of a town located right on a main highway on route to Bangkok. Needless to say, there are tons of trucks, tour and local buses running up and down the road at all times of the day. This same highway in Ban Phot has a beautiful wat with a massive corn statue in the front, a wonderful market that you can get some delicious soy milk and grilled chicken at, a 7/11, three tea shops and a 20 Baht store with an amazing variety of coloring pencils, markers, paper, and other cute school supplies!

Describe where Monique lives and her host family.
Monique’s rental house is a cute American looking styled house with a beautiful white tiled bathroom that has a tub and hot water (that’s my favorite part of her house!). It has a lot of windows that let in warm sunlight in the morning, a huge pond right in front that’s home to two turtles and about a hundred fish that eat fish food and rice everyday. She has three beautiful aloe plants right in front and has a cute kitchen where we made chicken and pumpkin stew, lastly her whole house was fairy light all over which give it this magical and warm touch. Her landlord, Mr. S is a cute little older man who worked in California as a chef for over 20 years and knows English and Spanish, he is the coolest!

Describe Monique’s school, teachers, and students.
While visiting Monique’s site in Phetchabun, I had the opportunity to meet her wonderful and welcoming co-teachers, teach P2,P6 and M2 and participate in the morning assembly. Monique’s school gives off this magical and welcoming vibe the moment you set foot on campus. Picture this, her vibrant students rushing up to her and I as soon as we bike in telling us good morning and firing all the English words and phrases they know! Then, we walk into her classroom and the walls are full of colors and we jump right into teaching P2. We start off by warming up with dancing to Baby Shark (a classic) to ending the lesson about clothing articles with a knowledge check. We go eat lunch at the canteen and I get to meet Monique’s sidekick, a cute white and brown collie looking dog who goes by Pepsi. We go on to teach M2, who asks us all about our love lives as if learning about the world’s countries weren’t more important and ended the day with music club and jamming out to a Thai song I never learned the name of. A whole day simplified into three words: Monique’s School Rocks!

What were some highlights from your trip?
Having the opportunity to dance and sing songs with the students was the highlight of the trip.

What surprised you about Monique’s community?
I remember walking into the market and seeing a lady peeling bananas and roasting them on a makeshift grill. She spent about 15 minutes peeling all the bananas she had and I kept thinking to myself, “is anyone going to buy those roasted bananas?” Five more minutes went by and the roasted bananas were selling like hot cakes! Those Ban Phot roasted bananas during the weekday market are a hot commodity!

Explain the similarities and differences between your site and Psian’s site.
My community in Chiang Dao is home to indigenous tribes and so when I teach, the students are speaking other languages besides just Thai. Teaching P2 at my school and teaching P2 at her school was different because the students were learning different things because their knowledge skill set was different, however the warmth and happiness I felt when teaching was the exact same, the students exude happiness joy and love no matter where you go. They are the true gems.


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