by Yuxuan Z., Work-Study, IHF Chiang Rai
My first week at the IHF Center was amazing. I was not only refreshed by the peaceful and gorgeous scene in Chiang Rai, but I was also touched by the enthusiasm of the local people, especially the smile of our kids in the Center. While they are getting love and care from us volunteers, they are also giving back. The kids enjoyed playing with the toys I brought them, and they never forgot to ask me to join them when they prepared food of their own. I became friends with the younger kid, Chichi, on the first evening when I arrived here.
We played the game “Hide-and-Seek”, taking photos of each other, and I was surprised to find that she could not only understand English, but also quite a bit of Chinese. We shared with each other how to say “I love you” in Chinese and Thai, and sang Chinese songs together.
After I finished cooking, she would give me the first bowl of rice; when I was washing dishes, she might suddenly show up and give me a hug from behind; after I finished cleaning the yard, she often brought me a cup of cool water to relieve the heat. That’s what I like about volunteering, you are never worn out because their lovely faces will cheer you up.
Being a volunteer is not new for me; but it’s the first time that I have devoted such intensive time and energy to an underdeveloped country, and that I have lived with children day and night. It’s hard to separate working hours from leisure time, since I’m always happy to dedicate myself to whatever needs to be done. And it’s also rewarding and enjoyable, as if I’m taking a fascinating holiday in paradise –Chiang Rai.