By Ellie Sneesby – 2 week volunteer
I have never experienced so many new things at once. The beautiful landscapes, the delicious food, the breathtaking sight of an Asian elephant in the wild, and last but not least, the immense warmth and hospitality of the people living here in this Karen village of Thailand. I came here not knowing what to expect, and have been overwhelmed these last few days. I already cannot wait to see what my next week brings!
Everyone has been so welcoming, especially Jadee, my homestay who welcomed me into her home for two weeks, and who has cooked the most outstanding dishes for me – it’s impossible to be hungry here! Wednesday night brought two big events in the village, woven goods night, where the women come and sell their stunning homemade scarves, bags and skirts, and village English, where those that are interested are welcome to come and learn some conversational English. I came away from woven goods with a beautiful skirt and two bags to take back to the UK with me. It was difficult not to buy everything!
It was also lovely to see so many eager faces gather to learn some English, while we are learning their language, Pakinyaw. We were all able to laugh about the different accents among us, with British, American and Swiss people trying to teach the same words, but we figured it out and soon we were having conversations. As well as teaching the adults English, we visited the school and got involved with teaching children describing words, days of the week and colors, which even the nursery kids were picking up quickly.
Overall, my experience here has been incredible, from the morning hikes to see the elephants, to the sights, smells and tastes of this gorgeous village. I hope one day I can return.