So we return to happy home in the afternoon. The girls greet us happily and one in particular bina, so pleased she enthusiastically calls my name and hugs me. As Aussie boy is with us I have to move rooms and share with Aussie girl.
Now the other volunteers have gone we’re now the old guard as it were and have to teach the new one!
I can see the struggle to adapt in Aussie boys behaviour, and remember it well. You turn up with your own thoughts and reality is very different. He’s following us around like a lost sheep, that was indeed me on my first few days!
So a typical day here;
Awoken at 5.30 by the neighbour using the water pump as limited running water here, clearing his throat and general chores next door. The noise of a water pump will stay with me forever as a memory. Drift back to sleep but up at 6am to clear the buffalo shit, water the chickens, prepare dal baht, then head off to children’s day care. It’s a bit chilly in the mornings so leggings and a fleece needed. The sunrise I love so it makes the chores less demanding when you can smile at the sun! No breakfast until 10am but I have some bananas in room so have one to help malaria tablet go down. Also no water in our room so teeth cleaning done with a jug. You just get used to the randomness of when water works, when the electricitys working and cold showers! Aussie girl has an awful rash on her whole body, it’s blistered and peeled so she’s off to doctors leaving two of us to go today. Before we leave one of the girls put a tikka (paint) on our foreheads, I like to be involved so great!
It’s a 20 minute walk through the village, paddy fields and meeting lots of villagers along the way: namaste! We pass the local milk shop at its busiest at 7am, women and men working in the fields, push bikes ladened with milk or vegetables. A completely different way of life to my normal walk the dog in the rain, jump in my car, sit in traffic etc etc!!
It’s school holidays so never sure who’ll be at the day school. I take some supplies such as books, pens, word searches. Today we have 3 to start, finished with 14! All fighting over my resources so we finish a bit early and send them home. Ages range from 4-15 and English from none to fluent so hard to cater for all! I give each child a sticker each day but the cheeky beggars pretend they’ve not had one or just steal them!!
We leave the daycare at 8.45 and walk back to happy home. As we walk back through the village the kids say bye as they go into their houses (shacks), we see kids who didn’t come to day care that are instead doing chores for the family, it’s quite nice in a way knowing where everyone lives. Some kids are still begging me to give them resources as we walk away, sad faces tug at your heart strings but it’s best to say no.
We pass a man with what must be 100 or more carrots balanced on his bike. Love the randomness.
We return to dal baht time. Aussie girl has been told the rash is an allergic reaction and now has a small pharmacy to take. She says the doctors surgery is just a room so everyone watches you be examined. Lucky it’s not a private matter!
After dal baht we clear up the mess, wash up, sweep floors, mop floors, the jobs I cringed at when I first came here you just get on with such as cleaning the food out of the drain, squeezing the mop from dirty water. We then go to clean children’s house including their toilets which is a real joy! All this is finished by 11am. Normally we do gardening but the mummy of the house is away so we can’t ask. Very sad story, her grand daughter is 2 years old and has meningitis so badly I’m not sure she’ll recover. Doctors missed it at the start and now she’s in a vegetative state with tubes feeding her. So the mummy and family constantly head to doctors of all kinds, witch, medicine, herbal, headed over to India as well. Not sure anything will help?
Anyway so we chill with girls, read, play the guitar that Aussie boy brought here. The girls seem to wear the same clothes for about 5 days, they sleep in them too, but today must be shower and clean clothes day as different outfits appear. I walk the dog as I feel sorry for him, he’s not allowed off the lead due to disease in local dogs at the moment. The heat and early morning have wiped me out so I head for a midday nap!
In the afternoon I like to go for a walk just to break up the day and for some exercise. Today we walk to the river and have lunch as a change from dal baht. About 20 minutes walk again, through village, nice to see more of the locals. So many kids ask our names constantly we’ve decided to make them up. I’m now princess Leah, Aussie boy is gandulph! We walk back via the river and stop by an icecream bike! Yes a man selling icecream off the back of his bike. I had to get one!
Back to happy home and chill with kids again. We find the table tennis bats as there’s a very good home made table and play with the youngest girl samitha. She likes to pretend she’s lost the ball so you look for it and she then serves! Bless her. I play a bit with aussie boy just to pass the time, walk the dog round the garden again. Apparently he looks so happy when I do this!
Then it’s preparing dal baht time again! Aussie boy is a bit of a sheep still, not proactive in helping. He did however sign up to teach English as did we all, so this kind of domestic work isn’t his thing!
He seems to enjoy sitting in his room reading so we let him.
As our room has no water but Aussie boys does I head to his to shower. You feel clean for about 5 minutes before you have to put semi dirty clothes back on and spray insect repellent, and I can’t tell If my feet are tanned or dirty as the dirt is ground in now! Again in the evening it gets cooler so jeans are adorned for the few hours we are awake.
You can always tell when the electricity is on, children nowhere to be seen as they are glued to the television. These all over the world hey, although these kids accept when the power goes of and head outside or to their rooms.
We sit outside and colour with those children who don’t watch tv, even the 15 year old boys join in some colouring. The kids always ask for your phone or tablet so they can watch YouTube. I lend my phone for half hour, they love it! The boys also bring over the dog who I’ve named Gunther (from friends) I think his name is Gunter so not far off, to sit on the porch with us, he’s so happy he’s jumping around. They do love him just treat him differently to what is expect on the UK!
As mummy of the house is still
not back the girls are cooking again. It’s much later tonight, maybe because we came back late from lunch to prepare food?
Aussie girl is feeling ill so heads to bed at about 7.30. Maybe all those tablets she’s got!
8.30 dinner time. We usually serve the kids but it’s not so formal whilst the mummy is away. We wait until we are told to eat though as kids go first. Dal baht as usual, you kind of get used to eating with your hands. It took me a few days to let my inhibitions go but fine now!
After dinner we clean up, I make a cup of English tea!! Oh yes can’t be without and head to room to sort resources out for tomorrow’s day care. Just like being a teacher??
Fortunately tonight we have electricity so a light in the bathroom, we have a flushing toilet although no other running water so bed times not too bad a routine!
Bed at 9.30 to read more of my Michael Palin Himalayas book, fascinating and loving reading it whilst actually in the Himalayas!
Better choice then the last book which was about people climbing mount Kenya and one falling to her death!
Typical day in happy home, same again tomorrow! Although tomorrow I must wash some clothes, my shorts are filthy!