Being Transformed

Started with Thailand, now on to life!

Project evaluation! 19 March, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — meggshe @ 5:59 pm

Note: there may be problems with the jar file. If it doesn’t work properly (I.e. Either the pictures do not show up or the buttons do nothing) then please comment on this post telling me what the problem is and what computer and browser you are using.

So, I need to get around 10-20 people (at least) to evaluate my project. It’s a carbon footprint calculator/tracker thing…Basically it’s supposed to be quite interesting and easy to use. So I need people to run it and let me know what they think of it.

The idea behind this system is to track your carbon emissions. This version is not able to store data between sessions, but the final system will be able to, and that’s when the blue footprint will drastically change size. You can test this version in a single session to see if you can get a small or large footprint, but you won’t be able to get it a lot smaller or bigger – because it’s only looking at a single days data. Also just be aware that because this is not the final system, it doesn’t look quite as good as I would like it to…

All you need to do is download the file:
CarbonTracker

(you just need to wait 45 seconds then click on regular download)

Run it, as many times as you want, and you can either answer the questions properly or just make it up…Then once you’ve played about with it, fill in this questionnaire:

Software Evaluation

Please fill in the questionnaire properly, and don’t be afraid to slate the software! The final software will be better then this one, and will actually save your data between sessions.

Both of these activities are completely anonymous, and I will have absolutely no way of tracing who wrote what. Although the software asks for a username, it does not store the data anywhere!

 

Carbon Emission data collection… 17 March, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — meggshe @ 12:02 pm

It would be incredibly helpful to me if you would fill out this quick questionnaire about carbon dioxide and footprints. I’m just trying to gather some information about how much people know about carbon dioxide and carbon footprints…Thanks!

Carbon Questionnaire

 

Final Year 5 March, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — meggshe @ 9:26 pm

So originally this blog was built for my trip to Thailand last summer. However I am soon going to need somewhere to run my final year project from, so decided I might as well turn this into something more regular. For now, most of the posts will probably be about uni and my project.

I may fail spectacularly at keeping this up to date. Or I may update it so often you all find it incredibly boring. However, for now I shall tell you that I had to spell-check ‘spectacularly’ and now the word has completely lost it’s meaning in my head and just sounds like a load of stupid noises.

So, first update. I am in final year. Most of you will know this! I am currently working on my final year project (dissertation) due on the 1st April (that will be an amazing day..). I am building (software-building, not actually building physically) a carbon footprint monitor. I have finished a basic version, and soon you will be able to see it and test it from this very site. However, before that happens I have to get my supervisor to check it and approve it for user testing. I am worried that he will be disappointed with my prototype (the official name for this basic version). It disappoints me, so I don’t see how he will be impressed. However it has also taken me over 6 weeks to build it. It has taken a lot of frustration, a lot of stress, a lot of time and a lot of energy.

My original vision was to have this amazing piece of software that could actually make it in the world, that maybe I could gain a small profit from, that maybe could make a difference in the world. As of yet, this software has not appeared. I am hoping that maybe I can make it in the next 4 weeks. It’s doubtful, however.

Anyway, I will hopefully be able to get it loaded onto here in the next week, and then I will begin pleading with people to test it! I will need two groups of volunteers to test it in two different ways…your reward will be my gratitude 😉

 

No more work! 24 July, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — meggshe @ 11:36 am

In the last week, I have seen more elephants, started peeling (from sunburn), slept pretty badly, booked a hotel, done some work on the Siam-Care website, packed some biscuits, taught English, spent lots of money, eaten very good food, eaten some bad food, had lots of freezing showers, been to the beach, been to James Bond Island, been on a boat, read a book, coloured in pictures, made worksheets, taken about 200 photos, collected about 1,500 photos, drank lots of water…The list could go on for a long time.

Life here is not boring, but it’s no where near as fast paced as Bangkok. I am really enjoying my time in the south, with the slow pace of life, and the beautiful beaches. It is so different to Bangkok, which I think can be expressed through photos:

Our local beach

PakPing Church was built by this group

Some of our work:

There are crabs on the rocks:

Mary and Susie at the beach,

Our PhangNga bay tour today:

So we have finished work, and the rest of our time here is going to be ours, until we leave for Bangkok on wednesday (5am start, 12 hour journey again…) and then for home on Thursday (12 hour flight…)

I might update again before we leave. Or I might wait until I get home, it depends on the time I have spare!

 

It’s definitely the rainy season down here! 18 July, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — meggshe @ 1:27 pm

So, we are in Phang Nga Province, but not in Phang-Nga town – we’re actually in a town called Khao Lak, which is basically a big long street of shops and more shops. There are so many tailors, it’s a bit ridiculous!

We arrived after a 12 hour journey on wednesday, all exhausted and a bit cranky. I found it hard again to settle into a new place, and it didn’t help that I’m not sleeping very well here. However, it is a beautiful place, the office (and where we are sleeping) is just a few metres from the beach. Because it is low season at the moment, the place is deserted – in a way it’s very creepy, almost like a ghost town, because half the shops are shut as well, but it’s very nice having the whole beach to ourselves.

Since arriving, we have had 2 days of work (only 5 days of work left!) and one morning doing a child activity. On thursday I was in the office, with Mary. I was just continuing work on the website, and Mary was continuing the work from the Bangkok office. Then on friday I went on home visits. One of the staff members, P Aom, was admitted to hospital on thursday night (midnight), because she had a headache and was feeling ill and very weak. So we did our first home visit, then went to visit P Aom.

The first home visit was really interesting, we started out by just meeting this guy who works at the front of his house, which is right beside the road. He buys peoples broken stuff (TVs, fans, etc) and fixes them before selling them on. We were told that he was married with a 6-year-old daughter. We then met his wife as well, who works as a waitress in a hotel. They don’t earn very much, but they both seemed very healthy and happy. P Nay told us that both parents are HIV+, but thankfully their daughter isn’t. The parents disagree on how to deal with their daughter – she does not know they have HIV, and the father thinks it should stay that way. The mother, however, thinks her daughter should be properly educated about HIV/AIDs. The main worry for them is that the child will be bullied or ignored because of her parents condition. HIV is still very much looked down upon in Thailand, and people still believe that it can be caught just by touching someone who is positive.

So then we went to the hospital, to visit P Aom. We had only known her for 1 day, but already I knew she was very happy and smiley, and just a cheerful person. So when we got into her room, there was a big smile on her face, and she welcomed us in. She looked very healthy, but she was saying that she is still very weak. P Nay was saying today that she is back home now, but we are not sure if she will be in work tomorrow or not.

By then, it was time for lunch, so we had lunch in the car beside a beach (it was raining…). We went back to the office for a couple of hours, before heading out to our second home visit. We drove into this massive dumping ground, and found this little shack. One young(ish) lady was waiting for us, and shortly after we arrived the rain began again, so we were ushered into this shack. It was disgusting. Just one single room, the floor was covered with bags of rubbish, the rain was leaking through the roof, and it was swarming with flies. If you stood still for 2 minutes, you would have at least 5 flies on you somewhere. I was thinking, how on earth does this woman live here?! Then we discovered that actually she (and her mother, who turned up) lived about 6km away. So we proceded to take them home. Their house was pretty decent, it was made of concrete and had 3 rooms leading off the kitchen. There were 4 people living there – the lady (P Kay), her husband, her mother and her younger sister. P Nay talked to them for about an hour or so, about what it is like to work on the rubbish dump (they collect recyclables and sell them on), and how they get by on the little money they have. They were also talking about the younger sister – she is 13 and is a typical teenager, she doesn’t care about her sister and mother, and has no regard for how they try to look after her. She just wants more money, doesn’t want to earn any herself, and just goes out with friends all the time. It’s hard for any parent, but even harder for one who is very poor. We also got to meet the families puppies, they have 2 very cute, tiny puppies. Tash and I held one each, and they were so fluffy and cute!

Oh, and on the way to that home visit, we saw an elephant beside the road! It was just standing there, quite happily munching on some leaves…

Friday night, the girls went for a slightly damp beach walk, and I stayed in the office. I just took the time to relax and enjoy the quiet.

Saturday was another busy day – we had a child activity in the morning, which is basically where a bunch of kids gather and we do stuff with them! we had about 30 kids, of varying ages (from 5-14, I’d say..), and so we planned the 2/3 hours before. We did some games, taught them about the Body of Christ passage in the Bible, and then did some related art. The kids seemed to really enjoy themselves, and so did we! There were some real characters there, and they were just so funny. One girl took an immediate liking to me, and we just played frisbee together for a while before it started.

After that, we went to a local restaraunt for some lunch, with P Nay and P M. Then they dropped us at a local Tsunami Museum (the Tsunami hit this area pretty badly), which was quite interesting, if very small. We spent about an hour wandering around it, then got a taxi back to the office, and spent the rest of the day here just relaxing.

While we are in Khao Lak, we get all our food cooked for by the restaraunt next door, called Sunshine. Siam Care have paid for breakfast and dinner there every day that we are here, which is very nice. We can pretty much request anything, and if it’s too expensive then we can pay the extra. The food is really good, and the lady who runs the place is quite chatty. One thing that I have noticed around here is how much everyone wants you to buy their stuff! You’ll be walking along the street and the shopowners will be shouting out to you, ‘come have a look,’ ‘come on in!’. It’s so weird, but I guess you get used to it.

Today we went to P Nay’s church, which was an experience. Very small, lovely building, female pastor. I didn’t find it particularly friendly, but that might be because none of the members speak English. We did get a translator, but she was translating to the whole congregation, so the sermon took twice as long as it should have! I was falling asleep by the end of it…

After, we went to the beach for a few hours (a different one to the one on Thursday night), where both Mary and I got pretty badly sunburnt! Tash and I went in the sea for a while, which was good fun – we found a little bit that was sheltered from the waves by some rocks. However, I did get sand EVERYWHERE. P Nay then picked us up again, and we did some shopping. I spent so much money. I bought a dress, but then discovered that it doesn’t fit 😦 so I might have to see if I can take it back. Only problem is, I’m not sure they do that sort of thing…So maybe I’ll sell it on to someone when I get home!

That’s you up to date with Phang-Nga. We have just 11 days left until we fly home.

 

Photos! 13 July, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — meggshe @ 1:29 pm

Thought you might like to see some of my photos so far…

First, of course, the Thailand flag:

 

This is my bed:

Some Photos from the Grand Palace..

     

Today, the school we’ve been teaching at gave us a proper big lunch – they got pizza and garlic bread, and we had Pad Thai…It was amazing:

 

The teachers, Adrienne (in the middle, in the purple top), and Susie (crouching) and Tasha (the other purple top, on the right)

     

an orange..

 

Imagine… 10 July, 2010

Filed under: In Country — meggshe @ 5:45 pm

A posh(-ish) restaraunt, where they serve popcorn with your drinks. It’s about 9:30pm. It’s dark outside, but not very cloudy. The restaraunt is at the top of the Baiyoke tower – the tallest building in Bangkok. You have a perfect view out the massive window, across the whole of Bangkok. In the distant clouds, you can see lightning. Actual single bolts of lightning.

That was my evening. We went up the baiyoke tower to the revolving roof top and looked out for an hour or so. Then we went down a couple of levels to the restaraunt and claimed our free drink. It was amazing to see the whole of Bangkok, and the amount we could see was also pretty awesome! But my favourite part was seeing the lightning bolts. I’ve only ever seen the light caused by lightning, not the actual, clear bolts. It was amazing.

I shall update tomorrow, and hopefully have some photos on Tuesday. I hve no photos from today because I forgot my camera, but I have some from last weekend.

Thanks for all your support 🙂

It’s monday now. I couldn’t be bothered updating last night, because we decided to get up at midnight to go to the Dutch embassy and watch the final. Adrianne is Dutch so we went along to support her and her team. I ended up coming home at half-time, because I was exhausted and was feeling a bit queasy. It was an experience, not one I plan to repeat. I don’t particularly care about football, and it was just loud and crowded – not really my scene. But everyone else really enjoyed it, so that’s very good.

It’s been about a week since I last updated, and there is sooo much to tell you about. I’ve now experienced everything I can here in Bangkok, and we’ve also done a lot of sightseeing. Torung is the best tour guide we could have wished for, because he has connections and he knows when is best to do things. For example, on Saturday he got his friend and her dad to drive us around all the sights – the floating markets, the wax museum, a temple, and then back to the baiyoke. We got a cheap deal, because the dad is a taxi driver, so we paid him 1,500 for the whole day (approx 30 pounds), from 2pm to 9pm, and he literally drove us over an hour outside Bangkok and back again.

So, I’ve been on some home visits, I’ve been to prison, seen Siam Care teach health and sex education, taught some English, worked on the Siam Care website and done some other office work. It’s been a crazy and exciting week.

I’ll give you a brief outline of my week:

Monday – Susie and I were working in the office. I was typing up a mans testimony. He has been in prison for 16 years, and became a Christian in prison. His testimony was very preach-y and he constantly referred back to the Bible. That, of course, is no bad thing, but it’s not the most interesting thing either. I was prepared for a day of reading about someone’s experiences! It was still very interesting, and I enjoyed the work.

Tuesday – I was back in school with Mary. Mary is a teacher anyway, so I let her take charge. We decided to gowith proper lessons, rather than games, so we concentrated on hobbies. We got the kids to play a couple of games about hobbies, shout out what the hobby was as we held up a flash card etc. Then they were to write out what they liked to do. We gave them a template and they just filled out the specific hobbies. Some of the kids were really good, and some were not…

Wednesday – I was on home visits. Tasha and I went out with P Ard and P Lek to visit 2 families. It was a really interesting experience, and we got to see two different sides of poverty. The first family was a grandmother, her son and her grandchildren. We talked to the grandmother, and she was just so happy. She kept laughing and joking, and there was always a smile on her face. She lived beside a canal, actually pretty much on top of it, and the house was very very basic. Siam Care built it for her, so it was a sturdy house, but still not very pleasant. There were flies and mosquitoes everywhere, and the floor was fairly dusty. The bedroom was just a bunch of matresses on the floor, again the matresses were crawling with bugs. The second family was a mother father and two children. The third child was at school, and we actually never saw the father. The two kids at home were 2 and 3, and the 2-year-old girl was HIV positive. The mother was also HIV-positive, and they didn’t know about the father, because he hasn’t ever got tested. The 3-year-old boy was incredibly cute, and very cheeky. He constantly had a grin on his face, and his favourite words were ‘don’t want to’ (in Thai, obviously!). The mother, however, was on the verge of tears the whole time we were there. It was such a contrast to the first woman we met. The house (it was a house, this time, not a shack) reminded me of council housing – basic, but livable. It was clean, and secure. We only saw two rooms, but they were pretty much normal Thai rooms. P Ard said that it was their first day in the new house, and they pay 2,000 ฿ a month (40quid).

Thursday – Naomi and I went to prison. It was such an amazing experience. We went to a women’s prison, where all the women are in because of drugs. Siam Care were teaching them about various things – mostly about how life will be on the outside. On the way, P Ard asked Naomi and I if we could do a couple of games with the women, so we quickly decided on Pictionary. We didn’t want to do anything that involved running around, because we had no idea how healthy the women would be. Just before we entered the prison, Naomi was saying how scared she was – we were standing outside a huge steel door…and had no idea what was on the other side! As it turned out, the prison was lovely. The women have freedom, within the prison walls. The place looked huge, with various buildings around the place, and gardens, flowers, fountains (!) and streams running about the place. We went immediately over to the clinic, where there were 29 women waiting for us. They were all very healthy-looking, and all very glad to see us. We found out later from P Paew that they get no other visitors, and Siam Care only visit once a year. Naomi and I got stuck in, playing a round of pictionary with them, and then P Ard and P Paew took over. They did some educational stuff with them, and then played some more games. Naomi and I got the chance to join in, which was absolutely hilarious! For one of the games, the winners have to do a dance, and Naomi was one of the winners. It was brilliant! Then we all did some dancing, Naomi and I lead ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ and they showed us some Thai songs. After we had finished, Naomi and I had a chance to talk to some of the women. One had very good English, and we sat and talked to her and another women for a while. She was very interesting, and I really enjoyed and appreciated the chance to get to know her better.

Friday – I was back in the office. I was working on the website this time, and working from home. It was a bit stressful, but mostly enjoyable. I felt like I got a decent amount of work done, and Adrienne was very appreciative, which is always lovely.

Saturday – We had work in the morning – 12 of the local sponsor kids came to the centre and we shopped and cooked European food together. It was a really good experience, and the kids were lovely. They were really well behaved, and seemed to enjoy themselves. After lunch, they all went home and Torung tooks us sight-seeing, which I’ve mentioned above…

I’ve almost gone full circle, so now I shall continue with yesterday. I really should update this more often, and then each post wouldn’t be so long, and I’d be able to put more personal stuff in, rather than just ‘we did this, we did that…’

So yesterday, we went to Adrienne’s church, which is an English-speaking church. The minister is from Essex, so the girls enjoyed hearing a familiar voice. The head of sunday club is from Ireland, and it was so lovely to hear that accent. After the service, I was talking to him and his wife (from Scotland!!) and he was saying that he picked us out as soon as he started speaking – apparently we all exchanged looks, and he could tell we were from the UK! I also met a lovely couple from Hamilton, and to be honest I just loved hearing Scottish accents again.

Adrienne then took us out to Pottery Island – which is a sort of man-made island…It was just a u-bend in the river, and they cut the river across to outside of the bend to make this island. It was basically a big market, but there were no cars allowed on the island, which was quite nice. I spent a few hundred Baht on stuff that I don’t really need but that I liked! I might give some of it to people when I get home…Or I might not! I had a really nice time, although it was really hot. We headed back to the house fairly early, so we could survive the world cup final in the middle of the night.

Then today I was on home visits again, and this time they were properly in the slums. Susie and I were together again, and we went to see two people. It was harder today, because we didn’t have a confident English speaker with us, so I felt more like a spectator. P Ying tried her hardest to translate for us, but she’s not very confident and sometimes we couldn’t understand each other. Also, it’s more important for the person we’re visiting to be comforted than for us to understand what’s happening.

That’s you up to speed. I am absolutely shattered, and I cannot wait for bed tonight! Thankfully tomorrow I’m in the office, working on the website again, so I can relax and just sit in an air-conned room all day 🙂 Then on wednesday we go to Phang-Nga (I’ll be teaching you all how to say it when I get home, it’s a bit weird!) where there are beautiful beaches and lots to see. It’s so weird to think that we are nearly half-way through this trip!

Thanks again for your support, messages and prayers.