Here’s to the (Thai) Women

Ali Talwar, 130 TESS

My service has been largely dominated with the love from many amazing Thai women. These women do more for me than I could ever thank them for, and they do it expecting nothing in exchange.


From my first host family of a host mom and yai (grandma), they welcomed this confused farang (foreigner) into their home and attempted to teach me as much as they could about their country to prep me for the next two years. Their help is the reason I was able to survive training and knew I could survive two years here because there were incredible women like them around!


Then, at my permanent site, I was relieved to enter a host family house with three host mothers, two host sisters and one amazing yai (and her husband)! These women take care of me more than they should of a 24-year-old “adult.” My host moms drive me around, give me gifts and invite me to family functions. My host sisters treat me like a friend and will go out of their way to help me (one even brought me Reese’s from America; she gets me). Then, there’s my yai. This woman is my rock at site. She cooks me dinner, sits with me to talk about our daily lives, and most importantly, treats me as her own. The first time she introduced me as her granddaughter to a stranger, I about lost it on the spot. She has my whole heart!


My school has seventeen teachers, fifteen of who are female. Last year, we took a trip together one month after I got to site, and I was so scared because I barely knew these people. On that trip though, I created a bond with these amazing women that has only grown every day since. We greet each other with good mornings and talk about how we’re doing. They make sure I get my daily dose of caffeine and always make sure there’s something for me to eat (I’m picky by Thai standards). Plus, my two counterparts know me so well at this point that they can always tell when I need cheering up or venting; without them, I never would’ve survived this long at site.

These amazing women saw a strange, lost farang and showed me love for no reason at all. They have the biggest hearts and the kindest smiles. I don’t feel like I did anything to deserve this love, and I know nothing I do could ever repay it. I just hope by the time I leave, they know how much I love them and how truly grateful I am for everything they’ve done for me!

Read Ali’s previous articles and contributions.

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