By Adam Gloser, Work-study volunteer at IHF Chiang Rai Center
The second week at the IHF centre in Chiang Rai and things have calmed down even more than I thought possible. Every night a storm comes rolling in and the mornings consist of us and the children cleaning the yard, or cooking or (specifically for the teenagers) sleeping until 1 o’clock in the afternoon.
The beach has become a common visit these days as the heat has returned. However, we were surprised to see such vast devastation after a particularly strong storm on Tuesday. The water level had risen as did the ferocity of the down flow of the water. The beach-side stalls had all been blown to shreds and children were picking up the last pieces of the bamboo debris from the stands, preparing to re-build. On Wednesday, I asked the older boys, Darid and Nupon, to show me a temple on an adjacent hill that is surrounded by jungle and is accessible through the jungle in our back yard. We took our bikes, but within a few minutes I encountered a few problems: the breaks failed but thinking nothing of it we pushed on, the chain fell but we simply put it back on, and finally the handle bar came off.
We had reached the base of the hill and a smooth, but incredibly steep paved road, lay ahead of us. I was pleasantly surprised to see that at the top we all sat down puffing and panting and a strange sense of comradeship lay upon us as we gazed across Chiang Rai, with beautifully decorated golden temples behind us. On the way back, we stopped off and casually picked up some 8 pineapples as a reward for our trip. On Saturday evening I set off for the night market, but was informed that it was closed due to the rain. I drove to town either way and was delighted to see that the market was in open, but only around half of it. The food stalls had shown up, but that was the primary reason why I set off in the first place. Too full to try it all I was forced to bring back a large bag full of goodies that the children eagerly helped me with. A successful night in my mind though.