Only 5 hours of sleep and the alarm clock woke us. We got dressed, had a shower and had breakfast. Rice covered with water, meat and vegetables. My stomach tried to flee. After half an hour, we got picked up by P’Deng and Tanja. We got a special camp T-shirt we had to wear for the next two days. When we arrived at the camp site there was one thing we immediately noticed: how beautiful the place was!
At 8 o’clock the opening ceremony began and we were asked to introduce ourselves. All of the children were very curious and we were slightly nervous. We managed to give a short speech, but we were asked to speak very slowly because otherwise the children wouldn’t understand us.
Another thing that drew our attention was the fact that all of the children greeted us with a Wai. This is a sign of respect. It is also used to greet people because the Thai don’t shake hands.
After the opening ceremony the activities started. I could guide the ‘dramatic reading’ activity. I printed out some easy to read chapters from various children books, but they proved to be too difficult for the pupils. So I adapted my activity to the level of the pupils and put in some games. I ‘taught’ this lesson together with a Thai English Teacher Trainee. She was in her fourth year (a Bachelor takes 5 years in Thailand). Together I think we managed to let the pupils have a good time while reading and speaking in front of the rest of the group.
After lunch (rice, meat and spicy salad) the activities continued. When all pupils had done all of the activities, we had dinner (rice, sweet vegetables, spicy pork, long beans, soup, spicy salad,…). I’m getting used to the spicy food but I only hope my stomach will keep helping me digesting all of the rice.
After dinner the Thai Trainee Teachers organized an entire show for the pupils. Songs, dances, fun activities… There wasn’t much to do for us so we took some pictures.
At 21.00 all of the pupils went to bed, including me. Tired but satisfied I went to sleep, and sleep I did.
The next morning I was up pretty early (5.30) and decided to take a stroll on the camping grounds. Every pupil that I came across greeted me by making a Wai and saying: “Good morning teacher!”
After the other teachers were awake, we had breakfast. The chemistry teacher saw my troubles with the early bowl of rice and offered me a chocolate brownie instead, which I gladly accepted.
At the end of the camp they held a closing ceremony. All of the teachers were asked to come to the front of the room and suddenly all of the pupils began to sing a song for the teachers. But not just any song, it was more like they were chanting a prayer. The other teachers explained us that this is a Thai tradition. It is the pupils’ way to show respect for the teachers.