What it’s like to work in an Orphanage

What it’s like to work in an Orphanage

I dressed myself in my newly brought traditional Curti and placed a scarf over my hair (the horrors of my dad tugging a nit comb through my hair from my childhood definitely made me want to prevent getting lice at all costs!) It was day one of working in the orphanage. A place I would come to know well during the next month. I had heard many stories of what it was like, how intense it is, how emotionally draining it gets, how much Poop you deal with on a daily basis. So during the 30minete rickshaw ride I felt rather prepared for what I was about to face. 

The two story complex stood tall, placed on a back road away from the Main Street. The windows seemed to have mesh covering them, coupled with a few bars which made it impossible to see in. The painted walls of the fence displayed happy faces and many bright colours. Similar decorated stairs carried me to the second floor where the kids were. Smiles and stares filled my vision as little hands pulled at my clothes  while cocked necks and eyes beamed up at me. About 40 kids, aged 1-6 all sat in this corridor. It was shower time. I was taken back as I watched how forcefully the women held the kids down to wash and rinse them with a bucket and a bar of soap, right there in the corridor. We all got to work, each with a task. Someone on placing diapers on the younger ones, someone undressing, someone drying and someone dressing (Every morning we bring diapers to the orphanage as they cannot fund it themselves). Even with the younger ones wearing diapers it still turns into a poop war zone, with little deposits placed everywhere.

As I dressed them in whatever clothes seemed to fit them it struck me. Nothing is their own. They don’t have that personal entitlement of ownership. They all share clothes, staff members attention as well as volunteers, no toys are in the orphanage, they literally don’t have anything that is individually theirs. I’ve noticed that with even the smallest of things, a button or a packet of tissues they are extremely protective, for this reason. 

I think at first for a while I just shut my emotions off in order to deal with them. Because when I truely addressed them I couldn’t bare it. It was too overwhelming. These kids don’t have any parents. I mean how do you comprehend what that would be like? No base? No one to tuck you in at night and tell you they love you as they plant a kiss on your forehead? They wake up have a wash, eat (usually something not very nutritious like a lolly or a few biscuits) go into a room where there is a TV and watch it for hours before taking a nap and repeating the cycle. They only go outside of the orphanage twice a year, On a picnic which the volunteering organisation plans. 

Some of the kids backgrounds are just insane. One of the boys witnessed his mother being murdered by his father, another’s mother is scarred with acid burns from a similar attack, others were simply dumped on the street or parents too unstable to take care of them.

Some of the children go to school, About 10. They are sponsored by mostly past volunteers to be able to afford to go to school. 

The kids call us ‘deedee’, meaning sister. I definitely am not going to miss hearing that word day in and out in about 40 voices all at the same time. 

The language barrier wasn’t a huge issue at the beginning as To keep them entertained all you had to do was piggy back them around the room, dance with them, poke funny faces at them, throw them around and show them a few hand games or so. Once I’d actually formed a connection with one (4 year old) girl in particular I wanted to be able to talk to her which was frustrating. It was amazing how we could form such a loving, emotional, goofy friendship with no words, just a heck of a lot of laughter. Everyday when I’d walk in, her beaming smile would come running into my lap coupled with a griping hug. As the days went on it was getting harder to cope with the fact that this would soon be gone. I would be ripped away from her, leaving her with that familiar feeling of abandonment. I’ve spent countless hours questioning if working in an orphanage for such a small amount of time (in the grand scheme of their lives) growing so close to the kids and then leaving is actually better or worse for them? In conclusion I find solace in the phrase, “it’s better to have loved and lost then to not love at all”. I mean if anything I’ve shown her what it means to give and receive love, what it means to be happy and given her some light in her world even if it was only for a brief amount of time.

The day came for me to leave. I managed, with some help, to translate to the women that I was leaving, this would be the last time me and my beautiful friend would see one another. We stood in that same corridor I’d first step foot in 4 weeks ago. The moment the Indian lady finished her sentence i saw the sadness in her little wee eyes, her bottom lip dropped and tears began welling in her eyes as well as mine. I held her so tightly for about 10 minetes before one of the ladies came to take her away. I had to peel her off me which made it 10 times harder to stop the tears from streaming down my cheeks. The pain was so aweful, I’ve never experienced something so emotionally powerful that my whole being was completely sucked into it. I was such a mess. I felt guilt, betrayal and utter sadness as I watched her scream and kick as she faded down the corridor. 

Before I mentioned all I’d given her by being at the orphanage. I failed to mention all she’s given me! So thank you my sweet girl, thank you for making ME smile everyday with your cheeky smile, genuine little laugh, the way you would insist I stand up and cart you round the room, throwing you from side to side, playing with my necklace and bracelet’s 24/7, undoing and re-doing a few million times and for teaching me that happiness is so simple. 

❤️❤️❤️ 

*for privacy I’ve left out photos and names.

My house(stel) in Udaipur…

My house(stel) in Udaipur…

This weekend I, along with two other girls, decided to venture to the beautiful city of Udaipur. It is known as the Venice of India and it’s easy to see why. The city surrounds a beautiful lake, with cobbled stone alleys lined with various clothing dangling from the walls. Scooters trail hot on your heels as you try to move out of the way of an on coming car that clearly cannot squeeze down this tight street. It felt like I was more in a European city in Italy or Rome rather than polluted, cow infested, dirt paved, India. 


Sipping coconuts by the lake:


The hostel we were staying at was so unique (Bunk yard hostel highly reccomend, only $7 a night!)There was a music genre allocated to every room. We stayed in the jazz room, so saxophones, old fashioned speakers and portraits of famous jazz artists decorated the room. There was a nice chill, backpacker feel to the place which was a nice change. The hostel was right in the thick of it all. Only minetes away from the cities most popular tourists attractions like the temple, city palace and many gats (small areas where you can sit by the lake). 


The beautiful stairwell inside the hostel:


After coming from working at the orphanage on Friday straight to Udaipur (a 7hr long car journey) we were pretty knackered so opted for sleep as oppose to mixing in with the clear socialising happening just outside our door. The next day it was up at a decent time, as we really only had one full day to spend here as we had to be back by Sunday evening. We visited the temple just down the road, wandered through stall after stall of the same things, visited the city palace (the grounds were beautiful but the palace itself was nothing too impressive just the same old story, looking around a royal families residence. It was also an extra few dollars to be allowed to take photos so don’t expect to see any!) Udaipur also seemed to be the most savvy when it comes to health foods and vegan places, of course I sniffed them out in a second, so that was another plus to the city!

Vegan pancakes in India whaaaat?:


The evening was the best part of the day. We booked a cruise around the lake for sunset. There is a fancy hotel acting as the centre piece of the lake and you can see the whole of the city from the lake as well as nice views of the palace (suck on that extra few dollars for pictures! Turns out their on my camera though woops) not to mention the sunset was magical from the boat. We were ocompanied by a local who was searching for his drone that had crashed somewhere in the lake, poor thing was searching for a while but don’t think he found it.




Oh hi there attractive low angle selfie:

During the following week after volunteering one of the other volunteers (also vegan) and I started working through the few vegan places Jaipur has to offer (which is 2 decent ones, Anokhi cafe and Tapri tea bar) which was delish! So nice to have some fresh veggies and raw deserts! Had missed it so much! Falafel pita pocket and a banana cheesecake sure put a smile on my dile. 

I mean:


My volunteering days in India are coming to a close and I am dreading the day I have to leave! I know it will break one girl in particular’s little heart. Super excited for some fresh air, sand and a beach though! Bali here I come!!!

Taj and Tigers

Eager to cross off one of the seven wonders of the world, I packed my bags for the weekend and hit the road. Agra was a 5hr drive away so it was headphones in. Soon Ed Sheehan, Arctic Monkeys and Broods were providing a narrative to the still surprising and ever-changing landscape of India. After a dangerous free for all buffet, houses on the side of the road constructed out of 100% cow manure, 10485478 staring eyes and the completion of yet another book, we made it to a beautiful hotel. I’m talking roof top restaurant, a television with english channels, complementary buffet breakfast, strong wifi in ALL areas, hot water, it was bliss. That afternoon we checked out Agra fort. About 70% of it was closed for preservation and also because it is still used by the government. Regardless, it was a beautiful fort. Walls tinged with red skirted the cute gardens with the most greenery I’d seen in a while. Such detailed inscriptions and carvings lit up the marbled walls. On a clear day you can see the Taj Mahal but the haze was so thick you barely got a good view looking down on the town of Agra, I don’t think the festivities of Diwali had helped with the already present haze.

Selfie at Agra fort:


  The Taj! Hoping to get a clear/non-fog-ruining photo of the infamous palace we opted to go later on in the morning. The Taj was basically our neighbour, a quick 5 minute walk down the street and there it was, well after going through about 3 gates and a security check complete with even a bag scanner! Now, I have obviously seen countless photos of the Taj Mahal, but standing there is another story. Despite the hefty amount of other tourists crowding the area, all wanting the best photo, the Taj Mahal was incredible. The entire structure is made of marble! I mean, Imagine how time consuming and hard it would be to chisel all the artwork. It took a total of 11 years to construct with even a few fatalities, due to the lack of protection from the gasses and toxins within the marble. The enormity of it was insane! 73 metres of pure marble. The classic bench where princess Diana sat was constantly swarmed by people eager to get the same picture. We managed to get a few good ones in areas that were slightly off the most popular areas. The palace was built by Shah Jahan for his late wife as a symbol of his love. He was a great believer in everything being symmetrical. The palace is exactly symmetrical, even down to two Mosks placed exactly on either side. He was even planning on building a replica of the Taj just across the river, in order to satisfy this symmetrical system. Wandering around its grounds I was in awe. So much detail, so much thought had gone into this masterpiece. It was sad to see that some tourists had taken advantage of being so close to the artwork and had stolen some of the jewels that were set in the marble. As a result we were told a few areas of the Taj will soon be closed to the public.

Detailed marble work:


 

Once back in Jaipur a few of us settled down to watch Slumdog Millionaire. Now more than ever this movie was so relatable, such a great film. I’ve checked out one of the malls here in Jaipur and It was so great to be in such a western building, with western shops and fixed prices! it’s funny the things you miss. Earlier this week the Prime Minister gave us a lovely surprise overnight by declaring 500 rupee notes and 1000 notes a no longer legal tender. Perfect. Here I was thinking I was so prepared by exchanging all my money in NZ, before I came. Now here I was with about 20,000 rupees, all in 1000 notes that were invaluable. It is such an ordeal trying to exchange your old money for new. The queues last for days with hundreds gathered outside every bank in town. I understand why the government has done this and why so suddenly ( to deal with the amount of counter fitting that goes on ) but I feel like the way India’s systems are set up and the current situation of it’s people, was not fit or prepared to handle this. On attempting to get money we were faced with guards with guns outside the bank but were escorted to the front of the queue like honoured guests, only to be informed we could only exchange 1000 rupees ($20) as they were low on money. On the same day this was announced Trump also won the presidency so it’s safe to say it was a grim day world wide.

After getting my first Henna design it was time for another adventure! This weekend it was off to a tiger safari. Ranthambore was just a mere 5hrs away. The place we stayed at was more of a resort. The grounds were gorgeous, lots of places to spread out on the grass and read (I tested it), another buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner and even a performance huddled round a fire with hot chai. We checked out the fort for the afternoon and captured the sunset with some photo shoot ready pics. We set out at 7am in our jeep and made our way to the game reserve. As tigers are nocturnal we were hoping to catch a glimpse before they settled in for a sleep. Climbing up the hills in a jeep on a rocky, unpaved road was extremely bumpy. We saw some Antelope, peacocks, deer and birds. unfortunately it was a tiger-less tiger safari for us but the views and selfies we got were pretty great. It was frustrating to hear from a couple staying at the same place as us who entered the park at a different gate saw Tigers, Leopards and crocodiles! Thats just the luck of the draw though, have to be in the right place at the right time. 

What I wish I saw (from the couples camera):

This was terrifying but the view was so breathtaking: 


Sad news from home about the earthquake! Thoughts with everyone xxx

 

Rajasthan 

It was off to a somewhat stressful start as I swooped down onto the runway and entered the tiny airport of Jaipur. After making a friend on the plane I was quite oblivious to my surroundings and probably should have been scouting for my driver instead of being involved in an in depth conversation. In a flash I was spitted out of the arrival hall and into the heat of the desert as 100 or so eyes glared back at me, some holding signs others shouting “Taxi!” And many others just taking a good look at the one white lady with blonde hair that just came from no where. 

Once I eventually tracked down a helpful security guard that was willing to let me borrow his phone I found my driver. We zig zagged through dirty roads and continuous beeps for about 40 minetes before I arrived at my new home for the next month! To say that my senses were overwhelmed by India would be an understatement (see previous blog for an in depth description haha). The guest house where the volunteers are housed is lovely. From what I had seen coming from the airport my hopes were not set too high. We have 3 floors all to ourselves consisting of a lounging area/eating area, TV, wifi, roof top terreace, kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms. It’s situated on a rather busy street though so horns are buzzing throughout the day. 

View from the rooftop:


At the moment there’s about 10 of us in the house which means we have a good amount of space. There are 5 of us working at the orphanage (more on that later) and 5 working at the street kids school. All from various countries, Canada, Australia, England and Spain. It turns out I arrived at the perfect time as Diwali was to start in the evening. It was incredible! We stood on our roof top and watch the sky around us, stretching for miles, illuminate with various colours and flashes. Kids played in the street below, some extremely young, lighting fire works and then running away before a car would veer out of the way. We had some ourselves, huge ones that fell on us once we had lit them. No health and safety whatsoever. We went down onto the street at one point and rolled out this huge wheel of fireworks that looked like a spike trap police lay out on the road to stop a criminal. It was like being on the frontline of a war. Sparks darting off in every direction, some flicking at our legs as we faced away. I thought to myself, I wonder how many casualties dewali brings? Babies were being held 2 metres or so next to a giant firework, kids danced and stood upon spinning fireworks on the ground. It was crazy. Buildings were covered in blankets of light, as fairy lights dangled from windows. 



We also partook in the religious aspect of dewali. For about 2 hours, in the ground floor of our house, the owners had a prayer ceremony. We were told it was only a 10-15 minete thing that ended up lasting a tad longer. Lots of chanting and repeating what the priest would say, throwing Mari golds over the Ganesh (the Hindu elephant) and covering yourself with the light from a flame. At the end we each got blessed and had bracelets tied around our wrists and a dot on our forehead as well as some Indian sweets.

The next day it was off to Pushka! I would be travelling for a further week before starting my placement. Pushka is beautiful. There is a large lake that sits in the centre of the city. It is a holy place and you must remove footwear be in the possession of no alcohol or non-veg food (which I thought was awesome!) and various other non-holy things. We visited the markets where we wondered for hours on end and I brought a ring and some delish street food, a falafel burger for $1! I noticed something about Indian culture that I never knew. Of course I have nothing against this whatsoever but it caught me off guard at first but the men hold hands. And it’s not what it would mean in the western world, it is not considered gay but more of a friendship/protection action. Now I was the one staring. At first I thought they must be gay and thought it was strange how open they were about it in such a heavily religious country but then reaslised every man was doing it, young, old. 

The sign at Pushka:


Speaking of religion, we came across a man on the street who was talking to us about his marriage. He was only about 21 but was explaining to us about how when he was 10 his parents came home one day and said they’d found who he was to marry. He obviously didn’t think much about it at the time but when he was 17 his wedding day came. He had to break up with his girlfriend at the time to marry this stranger. It was sad, he was telling us he doesn’t want kids but if he did he would never arrange their marriage for them. I couldn’t even imagine being set up and having no control over who I was to marry. This is how it is with their culture and I assume the children just accept and most even embrace arranged marriages but it saddens me that those who do not wish for it don’t have a choice. Aside from seeing all the poverty on the streets and realising how lucky I was with all my materialistic things and even basic needs, I think this was the first instance where I realsised I was extremely lucky to come from a country and culture that empowered women and the freedom I have that enables me to dictate my own life. 
After the usual few million photographs on random people’s phones, we left the markets and settled in for a night at a hotel with beautiful grounds and architecture. Driving to Jaisemer, a long 8hr car ride, was on the agenda for the following day. It was a drive that showcased Rajasthan’s barren desert that stretched beyond the horizon, cows that roamed the middle of the roads, camels that walked the sand dunes, villages that seemed all the same, and the great uneven and bumpy structure of its roads. Once we arrived in Jaisemer it was with great excitement that I realised our hotel was just across the road from a fair, Ferris wheel’s and all! That excitement soon fizzled when the power went out twice which resulted in all the rides stopping mid air. So it was straight to bed. 

Hotel in Pushka:


We visited Galdisar lake for sunrise (which was so peaceful and picturesque) then onto Jaisemer fort and it’s markets within. I really enjoyed this fort. The view was spectacular, all of Jaisemer was in view. The markets and residents within the fort also addded another element. I brought a few books from a quaint book store nestled in between the cobble stone alleys. The man who owned the store couldn’t speak and was such a gentle soul. We then went to this beautiful building just down the road from the fort but there were so many tourists inside I felt like a rat in a maze with a million other rats and had to escape. There we were ushered to our car by some children begging, singing frere Jacques and banging on our windows, insisting we spare some change. It’s so confronting when the kids or just beggars in general come up and tap on your window. At many of the toll roads or traffic lights, anywhere you have to stop there are kids singing or men with monkeys on a chain or selling toys outside your window. 

Beautiful Galdisar lake:



Jaisemer fort and markets:



View from the top:



That night we were really in the desert. It was amazing, we slept under the stars with the camels and our blankets. I’d never seen so many stars. I saw 3 shooting stars and battled with my eyes to stay open for as long as possible to gaze up at the best bedroom ceiling ever. 




Jodhpur was next, After a lunch of ‘green salad’ that ended up being just tomato and red onion, I’ve quickly learnt that that is their interpretation of salad everywhere. More markets with a very sarcastic merchant and an authentic Indian tea and spice shop saw me spend probably more money than I probably should have. 

We scaled Mehrangarh fort before heading back to Jaipur. I’m also learning that forts here are like what temples are to Thailand, exist in an excessive amount which end up looking the same very quickly. But with this fort I had an audio guide which made for a more interesting wander as I could learn about the background of it more. My favourite part was the meditation room and of course the stunning architecture. As with any place swarmed with tourists we were asked to take pictures on multiple occasions but now have learnt that we do have the right to refuse! Driving back I noticed the women do everything in their saris. Traffic wardens, farmers, all at work in their sari! Parents also place charcoal under their children’s eyes which makes them look as if they’re wearing eyeliner. I’m not sure what the aim of this is? But it looks So funny having a little baby wearing eyeliner.

Mehrangarh fort:

Much love, Rose xxx 

Intense, incredible India, At first glance

Intense, incredible India, At first glance

Cows graze on rubbish that swarm the streets while dogs and pigs tag along. Eyes gaze upon you from every direction. Various shacks line the streets as a fresh smell of herbs and spices wafts out. Women draped in colourful cloth, bearing nothing more than their face tread the dry dirt up the street. Horns blast as chaos ensues. Buses packed to the brim with people fly past as a crowd is also stacked on the roof. Kids tanned with a light brush of dirt rush up to you, palms open singing various songs. A family huddles by one lonely flame on the side of the street. Some are lucky and have a stick that holds up a large piece of cloth to provide a shelter. A women lays in the middle of the street with only one arm, the other clearly missing with minimal medical attention to the open wound. Huge animals, cows and dogs lie dead on the side of the road. This is india. Nothing is hidden. It is all very in your face and so intense. It is hard to put into words just how the atmosphere and what experiencing India is like until you are here seeing it for yourself. The only images and depictions of India I had before I arrived were largely based on Slumdog Millionare. It is scary to say the film is not far from the truth. This is how I saw the first few days in India, looking around with wide eyes and jaw dropped. Coming from even Thailand and it’s surrounding countries I could not even compare the culture shock.

Within all this poverty and disorder there is so much beauty. From the moment I was carted from the airport in a taxi that weaved in and out of the traffic along uneven roads which made it hard to determine what side of the road they drove on, I was completely in love. So much to see out my little window. It was like everything I knew was flipped upside down. Cows don’t need to be fenced inside a paddock? Let them be free to roam the streets! Why use the subtleness of an indicator when you can use your horn to let others know you are coming? And I mean every. Time. You. Pass. A. Car. EVERYTIME. Even if you’re clearly in your own lane and there is another car in the lane next to you. Beep your horn!!! Also, try to stay to the left but try to overtake as many cars as possible. Footpaths? Who needs them. Another reason to use your horn, beep at any passersby. Blue sky? Maybe it exists under the thick haze. 

It does really sound as if I hate this place. But it’s really quite the opposite. It is so interesting to see how these people live. I am completely amazed and entranced by India. Don’t even get me started on the beautiful architecture of some of indias oldest forts and palaces. Also, The whole country is pretty much vegetarian it’s awesome! Everywhere I go the whole menu is vegetarian and then sometimes a small section at the back is dedicated to non-veg food, Quite the opposite of back home. Majority of the people I’ve come across speak very good English, I was quite surprised. There are endless markets with an eager merchant stationed at each one. Gorgeous deserts that stretch for miles, sunsets that light up the sky, smiley kids who wave and blow kisses at you. 

I have also come to realise that from the outside looking in it seems as if these people lead an unfortunate life. But for them they know no different. Obviously there is no question about the sadness of the conditions some of these people are subjected to but What may seem unfortunate to me may be fortunate enough for them. 

I just wanted to get some thoughts out about India so far and to let everyone know I’m safe in my knew home! Stay tuned for what I’ve been up to… xxx 

Music,mosquitoes and markets.

Music,mosquitoes and markets.

Near death experiences, Elephant mud slides, many mosquito bites, late night elephant city wandering, groovy music, night markets and great people conclude my full week antics.

The scariest moment in my journey so far would have to be the other night. I was going about my usual nightly routine when I realised I was locked in the toilet. Now I know this doesn’t sound like the end of the world but at the time I was wishing, “please don’t let this be the way it ends”. Once I was aware I had forced the lock too far, jammed it and therefore couldn’t open it, I banged on the door for about 5mins (felt like 5hrs) shouting helplessly. Mind you the toilet is outside the house so NO ONE heard me. There was no window to crawl out of and the walls were high, no gaps at the bottom or top. So I did what I had to do. I pulled the door as hard as I could, my legs helping me with the leverage. The lock pinged off, flinging me in the eye in the process but I was free and alive! (The door wasn’t in such great shape and the screws and lock were totally unhinged) when I got back to the main room and made my announcement, to my dismay no one even noticed I was gone, to be fair I was only gone for probably 10mins but it was the longest 10mins of my life. 

With that ordeal behind me, the next day I headed off to the school to teach again, this time with mainly the younger kids. Shapes and nature was on the learning agenda. We tried to think of creative, enjoyable ways to teach the kids. So for teaching them about nature we drew a landscape on the board and labeled it with various features, ocean, flowers, cloud, sun etc then got them to copy and colour the picture. We also played multiple memory games to get them to cement and recognise the vocab. They were again extremely well behaved and respectful. One of the girls, Champoo (who is pictured in the photo 2nd to the left), was the cuties kid I’ve ever seen, I just wanted to put her in my pocket and take her home!

Back in surin, Amidst the constant pur of zigzagging scooters, eager tuk tuk drivers and bright lights we spot an elephant. It’s late at night, in the centre of town, accompanied by two boys holding bags of bamboo. This is no place for an elephant. This is exactly what my work here is aiming to prevent, the touting of elephants to tourists in order to gain money. Now this is the saddest, confused and most frustrated elephant I’ve seen. I mean this is bustling city life and the poor thing is beging dragged from place to place, in this concrete jungle letting out sighs and angry roars as it goes. It’s so heartbreaking to see, when I passed it was hard not to take it’s trunk that delicately brushed my shoulder and take him back to the village, a safe haven. I just had to remind myself I am doing the best I can for this cause, the greater cause. 

On a lighter note, the other day it was pouring with rain, like really pouring. It went on for a few hours. Considering the village is constructed of predominantly mud roads this made for a challenging walk to the river to bathe the elephants. Just before we reached the river there is a slight slope that was now converted into a mud slide. A few of the elephants, the small and the large, dropped their back legs and proceeded to slide down the bank, catapulting their enormous bodies forward as their chubby legs folded underneath and tummys skimmed along the mud. It was so joyful. One of my favourite moments so far, I wish I got some photos!! You can only imagine. It even looked as if they were enjoying it just as much as I enjoyed watching it. 

When the weekend rolled around it was straight to Sawadee! It was an extra special occasion as two of the Volunteers, Were leaving us on Saturday as well as it being one of the staffs’ birthday. I love these people. It is like a real big, diverse family ❤️. I’ve been teaching them great kiwi terms that I use unknowingly until they stop me mid sentence to ask, ” what are jandals?, what do you mean by Dairy?, Rubbish bin?, capsicum? 100s and 1000s? Gum boots? And you throw them for fun?”. Most of them I had no idea were called any different haha. 

Enjoying one of my favourite drinks at sawasdee:


Cheers!,One of my favourite nights in surin, we danced and laughed the night away:

This weekend I also ventured to the surin night market. Here I experienced the best spring rolls ever, so fresh and coated in a peanut/sweet chilli sauce, brought some more bananas, of course, as well as some sweet corn that wasn’t so sweet. I attempted to give a banana to one of the stray dogs but he wasn’t having any of it, obviously didn’t  share my love for bananas. One of the real annoying things about Thailand is there are hardly any public rubbish bins. I’m surprised there isn’t more litter in the streets. So I had to cart around my trash as I downed the delish night market food. 
Yummy Bananas at the surin night market:

Something cool: the music taste of most Thai people is totally not what I thought. They listen to a lot of alt j, sticky fingers, arctic monkeys, Bon iver etc, it’s so groovy! 👌✌️Also, in quite a few of the restaurants here I’ve seen ‘New Zealand oysters or muscles’ advertised on the menu, it’s a nice little reminder of home ❤️

A few of my favourite pics from the week:

Yeah, elephants Poop. A lot:


The gang, taking a quick break to pose for a photo of course:


Me in the water with the elephants:


Planting bamboo for hungry mouths:

Volunteer life in the village 

I decided this week to change up my work in the village so opted to teach English at the school. These kids are so energetic, respectful and so eager to learn. It’s such a refreshing and positive environment to be in! The children were aged from 5-11. I was teaching along with another volunteer. We planned to teach them vegetables and shapes. The lesson went well, they had trouble pronouncing certain words such as ‘carrot’ and ‘cauliflower’. In Thai they roll a lot of their r’s and find it hard to make the rrrr sound used for English. We ended with a classic game of pictionary, which they thoroughly enjoyed, leaping at the idea of a game. It was frustrating at times when I couldn’t interact with the children as much as I would’ve liked to because of the language barrier. But it was good we had a translator on sight. 

Miss Sketcher:

Listen up!:

On another note, We had our first power cut the other night which was rather scary. A few of us were playing cards around 9pm when the power was cut. Being in a small village in the middle of noware it was unpredictable when the power would next be on. (Thankfully it only lasted 1/2 an hour)

Another aspect of village life I’ve found is that In the early hours of the morning if it’s not the rooster that wakes you up or the very chatty gecko  it’s the ‘speaker phone man’. There is a man who drives through the village with his speaker blasting to the max with his voice. He is announcing something and occasionally has produce in his boot. At first we speculated he was selling something but recently were told it’s the village announcements. One day he was apparently warning the village that the volunteers were coming so there may be a bit more noise than usual! Haha.

The celebrity status is still very much apparent. This time we were all sitting at the table outside our home when a police car stopped and three officers began to approach us. No one who spoke thai was around to translate so we had no idea what they wanted (a million things were buzzing round my head as to what we could have done wrong, did I stand on some money and disrespect the king? Did I not take my shoes off in a temple? Did I point my feet in the direction of Buddha?) of course it ended up they just wanted a photo. They also gave us information of their department and a contact number should we ever need it. They were lovely.


Something I’ve truely appreciated here is the Selflessness and generosity of the homestays and their families. They Open their homes to a constant influx of strangers. Most of the time the family makes themselves scarce, I think they do this as a respectful gesture but I wish they would eat with us and we could commicate more! Everyone, every Thai person I’ve come across shares this same caring, friendly trait. It’s heartwarming. 
Ps: Jandals are dropping like flies, constantly consumed by mud and uneven pavements the Casulties stand at 3 pairs as of now. 
The elephants also say hi! 👋 xxx