My last week in Chiang Rai

By Emmaline Stotter, Work-Study volunteer at IHF Chiang Rai center

My adventure here has come to an end. Time has flown by! But, I feel that surely I must have been here longer than four weeks, because all of us seem so comfortable with each other. It has become a base here.

This week was another school week. Everyone up early and back after school when we prepare snacks and jump into activities. Origami is still popular! On Thursday morning, we cleaned and prepared the place for our new volunteer, Teri. She arrived full of positive energy and has been super fun so far. I only regret that we didn’t  spend more time with her.
On Friday it was a Thai Buddhist festival, so the children did not have school. In the afternoon Teri, Adam and I finally went  for a walk to Wat Doi Phabat (the temple near the centre) with the younger kids. There wasn’t any celebration taking place – we must have come too late or too early?  It took a while to get the children out of the centre, but once they were out it was hard to bring them back! They got to run around at the old airport and during our little walking break we all sat down to enjoy icey drinks.
The seeds which I bought the other day are still sitting on the shelves at the centre. When we first arrived, we had weeded and prepared the herb bed with Nupon. But after all the rain that’s fallen the whole patch has overgrown with weeds again! I only bought tomato and sweet basil seeds, to see if growing them at the centre will work out. They need to be planted in small containers, not in the earth yet. So, we will leave the weeding for the future. I tried to get the kids to come and plant the seeds with me, but to get them calmed down isn’t easy, and the smallest distractions sent them wizzing off again. Hopefully, one day Teri will get the kids to enjoy a bit of gardening!
I gave up trying to get them to garden with me. I guess planting pretty little seeds just isn’t in their best interest, which seemed pretty clear when I caught the little ones smashing away at a jackfruit. The children prefer more boisterous activities.
We said our goodbyes today which were really sad, but not loud or obviously emotional as usual – but that didn’t stop me from  grabbing each and every kid to give them a big cuddle and kiss 🙂 I’ll miss them so much! I’m so grateful to be given the chance to learn from these amazing, talented children and I hope to hear from them again.

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