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IVHQ Video Tour: Thailand

With the Latin America leg complete, the IVHQ Video Tour is moving on to Asia, kicking off with a visit to our Thailand volunteer program! Our talented cameraman George is joined by IVHQ Asia Program Coordinatior, Margarete Lua, who shares the pair's experience on tour...

Wednesday 25 February

Arriving into Chiang Rai International Airport on Wednesday afternoon, George and I were excited to learn more about the IVHQ Thailand program and experience volunteering in Chiang Rai.

Volunteering in Thailand with IVHQ

After a brief tour around the volunteer dorms I join our current volunteers for some delicious traditional Thai dinner followed by fresh mangoes bought in the village nearby. 

Thursday 26 Febraury

Early Thursday morning, I join the volunteers for breakfast, Thai- style fried rice with eggs and vegetables, a pork broth, fresh local bananas and some instant coffee, which volunteers buy at a local shop and which was graciously shared with me. Following breakfast, the morning meeting begins and activities for the day are discussed, everyone ensures their lesson plans are organised and they are ready for their teaching placements. 

After a thorough tour of the volunteer dorms, meeting room and teaching resources room, our first stop is the Huay Fai Primary School. Here, volunteers teach in pairs and are accompanied by a local intern who translates when required and ensures the children are well behaved. The volunteers teach English to children aged 9 to 12 years. Teaching methods include the use of flip cards and actions to teach the topic of the week, in this case question words. 

IVHQ teacher in Thailand

Next on our agenda is an incredible elephant ride through the Mae Kok River and local shops. It is an amazing experience to feel the movement and power of this strong and gentle animal, sitting behind its wrinkly ears is a moment that will be remembered. We eat Pad Thai for lunch and after a quick visit to the the giant snakes held by the villagers, we continue on to Chiang Rai Hospital.

At Chiang Rai Hospital, volunteers entertain and teach children who are currently residing at the hospital. They play with arts and crafts, teach basic English and read to the children. 

Next, we visit volunteers teaching English to local Monks at Wat Pra. The English skills of the monks are very advanced and volunteers love the challenge of planning suitable lessons, such as the teaching of words with double meanings. 

Teaching monks in Thailand with IVHQ

In the afternoon, we ride out to Jalae Village to visit the Outdoor Work  project volunteers and experience a home stay with the local Lahu hill tribe. A cool and clear rocky stream borders the village and the stark juxtaposition of bamboo huts housing televisions is a great example of traditional lifestyle in a modern world. We visit the bamboo hut that volunteers have built for a local villager and are given a tour through the village. After being spoiled by a delicious array of stir fried vegetables, curries and soup for dinner we are treated to a fantastic traditional dance by both local Lahu and Akha in traditional dress. We tried our best to learn their dance moves as we circle the fire, however the cheeky addition of seemingly randomly timed extra steps are enough to catch us out just as we thought we had grasped the dance.

Visiting the Hill Tribes in Thailand with IVHQ

Friday 27 February

Awaking in a bamboo hut to the sound of roosters crowing and the village kids running amok, it did not take long to register where we were. The sun slowly rose over the hill and a morning coffee huddled around the open fire only added to this beautiful morning.

The volunteer accomodation on the Outdoor Work project with IVHQ

Our job was to join the project which volunteers had been working on all week, creating rice paddies on a nearby hillside to provide food and income for the village for many years to come. We howed and dragged the dirt until 3 blisters later, we were called to a stop. Lunch was prepared and cooked within bamboo sections over an open fire and, after a morning of hard labour, this was quickly devoured. This was followed by a walk to the local waterfall and a swim in the cold pool, a definite highlight after the hard work from the morning. 

The Outdoor Work volunteers had completed the bamboo hut and a dam to conserve water for the local village in the previous week, with a trip to the refugee camp in Chiang Mai planned for next week. There is an abundance of work and variety on this project as new projects constantly arise.

IVHQ Outdoor Work volunteers in Thailand

At night we were treated by an open air concert on site, a local band using entirely recycled home-made instruments played the night away. This was a great way to end our Thailand visit and we are now very excited to be on our way to Siem Reap to visit the IVHQ Cambodia program.

To see more photos from the Thailand visit, have a flick through the IVHQ Video Tour: Thailand album on Facebook.


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