by Michael Yiu, Voluntourist at IHF Chiang Rai
In Hong Kong, it is not easy to be happy. Loads of work, stressful life, complicated relationship with different people…… These problems also make me nervous and stressful. Every time when I was trapped in a bad situation, I just wanted to leave Hong Kong to take a deep breath. At the same time, my friend introduced IHF to me. Volunteer work for me is a good chance to learn and experience, and also a good chance for me to give while I am still strong and good enough to give. Then I came to Chiang Rai.
The living standard here is not good as Hong Kong. Dirty kitchen with a lot of mosquitos and ants, not enough clean water and a worse condition of water supply. I know I am going to live in this place for two weeks, maybe it is a good chance for me to experience more and grow up, and also relax in such a natural place which is not easy to find in Hong Kong.
On the first day I arrived, the first mission of mine is to pick up the younger kids from the school. They are lovelier than I imagined. Although they are not able to speak English well, I try my best to communicate with them with different ways like body languages. Their smiles make me feel touched. Happiness is so easy to find here, although it is just a little hug or the sharing of a small pack of biscuits.
The food here is not good as in Hong Kong. For every meal (including breakfast) we are are vegetable fried rice, sometimes we got eggs if we are lucky enough. The food like this would be enough for every kid in Hong Kong to complain and cry about. However, the kids in Thailand are not like this, they are good with everything they can have. They do not request much as Hong Kong people. The simple life here is impressive for me and has also enlightened me a lot.
Living, learning, giving is one of my mottos. I learned a lot from the kids and I also wanted to give more back to them. With the limited resources at the center, most of my plans were not going to work here. Luckily, I brought some magic and balloons, and some games which are suitable in this situation. I tried to bring more life to my lessons using these things. I taught the younger kids how to make different kinds of animals with the balloons. For the older kids, I tried to use a trick called “money maker” which lets them think more about their life. Is the money the most important thing in your life? What will you do immediately when you got a lot of money? What is your dream job in the future? It is the most touching moment I’ve had this week to see the kids discussing these questions seriously during their lesson, and of course, in English. Many of them shared their dream job: being an English teacher, Chinese teacher, Artist, tourist guide…… and the most impressive one is to be a director for the center! I really can feel that the kids keep growing up in the center with the love of co-directors and the volunteers.
There must be more and more great moments in the next week, I am looking forward to it. Khop Khun Kap!!!