service to society

Bangkok Travel Blog

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sea of yellow

It wasn’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 Sunnys’ 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. You’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. “Why do Thais like yellow so much?” I asked. “It’s the royal colour” 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.

a provincial Thai girl
Thais are really into their King quite different from Japan. After getting introduced to the directress and doing my little wai thing headed to our class. We walked passed spacious physiotherapy gyms, classrooms, and workshops of all sorts of trades. The complex was well designed and orderly with ramps and full disability-friendly facilities, very Japanese.

In one large workshop several young men in wheelchairs were busy repairing television sets. We said “hi” 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. I’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 “what’s your name?” “I’m from…” “I am a..” 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 doesn’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. 

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sea of yellow
sea of yellow
a provincial Thai girl
a provincial Thai girl
Bangkok
photo by: Deats