Chris Tracy, IHF Volunteer; Chiang Rai, Thailand

I have had the privilege of being at the IHF centre in Thailand for just over two weeks now. It has been quite the adventure but as life is an adventure I have loved every minute of it (well most of the minutes). I arrived on the night of the 15th of September. It was a long flight and I was glad to finally have arrived. Jirasak (the director of the centre) met me at the airport and we travelled by tuk-tuk to the orphanage stopping for some food along the way.

I didn’t get a chance to meet the kids until the following afternoon. I only remembered one of the names (sort of) because he had introduced himself to me earlier in the day. The kids are sweet and energetic. They love playing on the computers as well as ping-pong. That day I also was able to give them the donations I had brought. As I sat there I wished that I had more that I could give them. They are such great kids that I want them to have the best in life. Their smiles are genuine and you rarely see a frown.

A typical day here involves getting up around 6:30. You shower (dump water on you) and then eat breakfast. In these two weeks I am quite sick of rice so after my four months I will probably never eat rice again 😛 You then begin your international task work online. There is four hours of this which generally gets spread throughout the day. The rest of the day is usually spent with the kids playing or helping out in various fashions. Free time is very little. It usual comes during the day when the kids are at school or after eight on a school night when the kids go to bed. Otherwise you are usually quite busy. You also get one day off a week. You can either take this day off each week or combine your days off to take longer trips. I myself am planning an epic adventure as I have no idea when I will get back to this area.

In short, I love it here. I love the kids and I love the centre. Although I feel self-conscious because I don’t speak the language, the kids are very friendly and make you feel welcome. My favourite moment so far was when I put a movie on my laptop as there was a few kids there as the others had gone to a festival and the kids are crowded around me to watch with me. I felt accepted and a part of the centre. This so far has truly been an amazing experience and I look forward to the rest of my time here.

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