service to society
Bangkok Travel Blog› entry 31 of 66 › view all entries
It wasnâ€™t long before I was out to do some service to Thai society. This time was at the rehab-center for people who had been disabled from industrial accidents. I went with Sunnysâ€™ dad Nathaniel.
We arrived in the afternoon and went to the office. In the entrance was a large portrait of the queen decorated with flower garlands. Youâ€™d think she built the place as it happens the Japanese government, the Japs have a penchant for foreign aid and building countries up in SEA, built it. The staff was clad in the ubiquitous yellow shirts. â€śWhy do Thais like yellow so much?â€ť I asked. â€śItâ€™s the royal colourâ€ť Nat told me, in Buddhism there are colours for the days of the week the King was born on Wednesday or something so his flag is yellow and the queen has a blue one.
In one large workshop several young men in wheelchairs were busy repairing television sets. We said â€śhiâ€ť and invited them into an adjoining classroom for the weekly English class. The classroom was glass enclosed and I soon got chilled by the powerful air conditioning. One of the staff came in with coffee and water. Thais unlike other Asians drink coffee instead of tea. Iâ€™m not exactly sure when this happened but I think they made the switch fairly recently. I sipped my coffee and examined the classroom it was well set up with a tv, vcr, whiteboard etc.
About 6 students came and we started our two-hour class. It was basic conversation â€śwhatâ€™s your name?â€ť â€śIâ€™m fromâ€¦â€ť â€śI am a..â€ť and so on. They were painfully shy and it took some time to coax them out of their shells. They were dark complexioned and some of them seemed had a rather murky air about them. Thailand is a very spiritual kingdom not all of it is positive though. Some of the locals are very dark spiritually similar to some of the Africans I encountered in South Africa. A couple of the girls were missing digits and some students where in wheelchairs they were all optimistic about finding work after rehabilitation and training. They were very happy and appreciative of our instruction.
After saying goodbye to the class I took a walk around the yard and inner court. It was green bright the buildings were connected by covered breezeways. The architecture of Thailand allows for the maximum air and light (common in tropical countries) walls are sparse but roofs are needed for the monsoon rains.
We left some boxes of powdered coffee and boxed cereal with the staff and left. Giving things away doesnâ€™t take much time (I mean how much time does it take to say thank you?) the most work is in collecting the goods. Part of the work in this NGO is the regular pick up and distribution of donated goods. Yet more important is the time and service that we give. I think, teaching people to self-sufficient and to change their own lives in a positive way is better than temporary feeding.