October 2016 – another kind of impact
Collecting lattex from rubber trees
Is it already a month? Or is it finally a month? It's quite difficult to feel time running here in Thailand. Maybe because of the hot weather, maybe because of the humidity. Sometimes I have the impression I have been living in this country for much more than a month, other times I feel like being arrived two days ago.
Building, organic farming and teaching English are the three main activities we are supposed to do, but here everything is “sabai sabai”, which means that there is nothing definitely planned and everything can be changed at any time. As soon as you understand that, your perspective changes. Organization and planning which were so important for you in Italy, are now not as much fundamental as they were before. Soon you realize that the idea of the impact you would have liked to leave is completely different from the mark you are actually leaving. It's not that much about planting cucumbers or mushrooms, nor about teaching English to the children, it's more about a kind of human and cultural impact.
In this first month, we have been living for two weeks in a village which asked to host future EVS volunteers. Our aim was to "test" it and provide a middle term and a final feedback about it. It was here where I started understanding that "my mark" would have been different from the one I imagined. Some of the volunteers were quite disappointed because in the Thai culture women are supposed to work in the fields and take care of the house and children, but are not supposed to be involved in building process. Here, we showed to the local people that women also can at least try to be involved in building activities and most of the time they are strong enough. We showed them that also guys can wash the dishes, as well as women can drink and smoke.
In the end, be open minded and be sure that your impact will never be the one you are expecting.
Buddy program at Bang Khlam village