Being Transformed

Started with Thailand, now on to life!

Day 4 (of the transform house…) 4 July, 2010

Filed under: Culture,In Country — meggshe @ 9:48 am

Well it’s day 4 and it’s been quite eventful. I’ve been noticing a lot of differences between here and home – like they have no concept of pavements. The road ends and there’s either a building or a street seller. It makes being a pedestrian rather dangerous! There are also a lot of dogs wandering around, and it’s hard to tell if they are strays or if they belong to someone.

So far we’ve had one day of work. I was working in the school, trying to help the kids with their English. When I say kids, I mean teenagers – the youngest is 16 and the oldest is 18. And it’s not some small poor village school, it’s a massive school in the middle of Bangkok, and all the parents are like government workers and lecturers etc. So the kids are very similar to kids at home, and the classes seem very unstructured. It was just myself and Naomi at the school – the team splits up each day. So at first we were just chucked into a classroom with a bunch of Thai kids and told to talk to them. I found it completely overwhelming and I became very shy. I found it really hard to talk to the kids because of how I was feeling, and it kind of put a damper on the whole day. Then we had two groups, one morning and one afternoon. These groups were more structured so we played some games with them and talked about ourselves. I still took a back seat, and Naomi did most of the work. I guess I was still feeling very shy and like we’d just been chucked in at the deep end and left to find our way. It was probably also a bit of culture shock, which I think I’m still experiencing.

I still find the heat very hard to handle, often mostly because it’s very humid and we’re all sweating a lot. It makes me feel better when I see Thai people sweating though!!

Yesterday we went out to see Bangkok for the day, and we were out for more than 12hours I think. We went to the grand palace, which was very grand indeed. I was slightly shocked by just how much extravagance there was. There was a temple place with an emerald Buddha, and it was surrounded by gold things. It was very impressive, but also slightly tacky. It feels like they are showing off, and concentrating too much on wealth. Thailand is prominently buddist, so there are a lot of statues of Buddha all over the country.

We were being shown around by a student here in Bangkok. His name is Torung, and he’s living in the house with us. He has the downstairs room, similar to a lodger. He has extremely good English, and has grown up with Tearfund teams coming and going. He grew up in Mukdahan, which is normally where the teams go. We are going to be going down to Phang-Nga on the 14th, which is down south, near Phuket.

We also went to a mime last night, which was brilliant. One of the Siam Care staff members (P Paew) son was in the mime. He did a balloon sketch – he blew up a balloon and went floating over the city, but then a bird popped it and he landed in water, I’m not sure if it was the sea or an aquarium. We also went to church with P Paew (the P is the polite way to say someones name, like mr or mrs) this morning. We went to quite a traditional, Thai speaking church. It was very interesting, because they got an interpretor for us, so you could hear both Thai and English. It was a fairly long service, and the guy was preaching on Genesis 16:1-16. It was quite interesting, what he was saying, but hard to follow because the English was fairly broken, and didn’t flow smoothly. They sang all the sings in Thai, but the screen also had the English so we could sing too. There were a couple of songs which had obviously been translated from the English to Thai, because the English words fit the music perfectly, and I recognised a couple of them. You could also tell when the songs were original Thai, or possibly some other language, because the English didnt fit as well.

We also saw P Paews son again, Tam (the ‘T’ is quite a harsh noise, not like our normal ‘t’s. It’s more like a ‘dt’ sound). He’s a really nice guy, and is quite hilarious. You can tell he’s into acting because he has very good facial expressions and often will just mime something instead of trying to get the English.

Now we’ve come back to the house, and the rest of the team have gone to the Market. I decide to stay in because it’s just too hot for me, and I’m a little tired. I’m feeling a bit homesick at the moment, and finding being here very hard. I know I will adjust, but it will take time and I just need to be patient. Tomorrow is a new day, and I’m not sure what I will be doing – either home visits (which I really want to do, but apparently to get into the slums you have to walk over a really dodgy bridge of planks, and the planks can sometimes snap so I’m terrified of that!), or working in the office. Adrienne (the team leader at Siam Care) wants me to update the website, so once I’ve done some work on it I’ll point you to it so you can see my hard work ;).

I think I’ve probably written more than enough! I’m going to settle down for a couple of hours and read my book. I’m hoping to finish it before the girls get home.

Thank you all for your support and prayers. Please feel free to email/facebook/comment, and I’ll try to reply.

ขอบคุณ!

 

and so we arrive 1 July, 2010

Filed under: Culture,God,In Country — meggshe @ 8:52 am

After a 5 hour train journey, an 11+ hour plane journey and a quick car journey, we arrived in our final destination in Thailand. I stayed in London the night before we flew, because I had to be at the airport really early. The hotel room was pretty depressing, so not the best start to the trip!

But, once I made it to the airport and we’d checked in I was much happier. We eventually got on the plane, and then must have missed our take-off slot because we ended up sitting on the runway for over an hour. When we were landing in Bangkok you could see parts of Thailand, and I was amazed at how much it looked like home from that angle. As soon as we got outside, however, I realised just how different it is!

We got picked up at the airport, and driven to our home in Bangkok. We will be staying here for 2 weeks, and then moving on to Phang Nga. So far since landing at 6am this morning (Thai time) the rest of the girls have slept, whilst I read my book. We’ve just had lunch at the Siam Care offices, and our orientation starts in just over an hour. The office here in Bangkok has internet, so that’s where I’m updating this from. Hopefully it means I will get the chance to update this fairly regularly over the next two weeks.

We’ve been told that our main activities are going to be home visits, teaching English and working in the office. We will also be doing some prision visits. I’m not sure how different our activities will be in Phang Nga.

I am currently very sweaty, and struggling with the heat. It’s very very humid here, and when we arrived this morning it was raining. It’s now completely dried, and is just hot and damp. Really not my favourite weather, but I trust God will help me to adjust.

Right now, I’m really looking forward to going to sleep tonight. I barely slept on the plane, and didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before – so tonight I’m going to have the best sleep ever, even more so because the air conditioning will be on!

I’m signing off now, and going back to chat to the team.

Thanks for all your support 🙂

 

less than a week… 25 June, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — meggshe @ 6:18 pm

…until I’ll be in Thailand!

As far as I know, everything is ready. I have anti-malarials, I have as many jabs as I can get, I have all the stuff from the pharmacy – bug spray, sun cream, after-sun, etc, etc.

I’ve bought more clothes, I’ve spent lots of money on trains, I have a visa.

I think I’m ready.

We still don’t really know what’s going to happen, where we are going to be…I don’t know how the team are going to get along. I don’t know how I am going to handle the heat, I don’t know what kind of bugs we are going to encounter. I don’t know what I’m going to experience.

But God knows.

That’s good enough for me.

 

‘I like stabbing people’ 12 June, 2010

Filed under: Fundraising,Preparation — meggshe @ 10:50 am

That’s what the doctor said to me yesterday, when I was getting my Rabies and Hep B jabs. He was quite funny, pretty much a typical Glaswegian. Yeah, I got my first set of both Rabies and Hep B, going back next friday for the next two jabs. However, I’m not going to be able to get the final jab for either, because there isn’t enough time!

I’ve also managed to gather all the money I need, from various places. I have some part time work, just minimum wage, so far earned almost £200. Plus mum and I did a stall last saturday in Edinburgh, where I was selling loads of baking (made by my mum and aunt) and some of my DVDs and books. I made £165, which I am very happy about! My aunt also gave me a very generous donation, which I am incredibly grateful for, which has boosted me over the top of my financial needs. I am still due Tearfund £690 (cheque is going in the post today!), but I have over £800 in my bank account. The last few things I need to spend money on are my last two jabs next week and my visa – totalling £225. I still have a weeks worth of work, before I go, which means another £200. Therefore, my fundraising is complete (yay!!), and now it’s just a case of making a shopping list and going shopping 🙂

In other news, I (finally) got an email from Tearfund saying that the International Director has confirmed that our trip can go ahead! It’s been a bit of a crazy time since then, trying to make sure I have everything sorted, and all the paperwork organised. The problem is, some things have time constraints, like the Hep B and Rabies jabs – they’re both a 3 week course. I’m now just praying that I can get everything done in time, and that I don’t mess this trip up!

My plan for this weekend is to make a massive list (probably lists) of what needs to be done, and when. Also, what needs to be bought, what needs to be packed…I’m pretty much going to plan every minute of the next two and a bit weeks..!

 

vaccinations 23 May, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — meggshe @ 11:03 pm

On friday I went to the doctors, thinking I was going to discuss vaccinations and cost etc. I left with two puncture wounds, one in each arm! Iam now successfully immune to Hep A, Typhoid, Diptheria, Tetanus and Polio. The nurse was really nice, we had a good bit of banter while talking about Thailand, and what I need done, and how to stay safe. However, the best part of the trip was that it cost me just £3. I only had to pay a prescription charge for the Hep A/Typhoid injection, which is really pretty good. However, the expensive ones are still to come – I need to phone the travel clinic tomorrow and try and get an appointment to get Rabies and Hep B, both of which are a course of vaccines, and probably both more than £50 each.

In other news, I got another email about visas and trip updates, basically saying that Tearfund will be discussing our trip in detail on the 1st June. They are going to take into account the reports from Siam Care (that, from their point of view, all is safe), the advice from the FCO (advising against all travel to Bangkok), and the situation at the time. Currently, the government appears to have cleared the protestors from Bangkok – they’ve certainly broken up the camp in the middle of Bangkok, and have started cleaning the city. However, the whole country is still in a state of unrest, and who knows what could happen over the coming weeks.

I know that, whatever happens, it’s in God’s hands.

 

updates on the situation 14 May, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — meggshe @ 12:11 pm

I just got an email from our guy at Tearfund (Matt – he’s organising our trip), updating us about the situation. At the moment, it’s still all up in the air. Matt spoke to the organisation in Thailand, and they said that from their point of view, there is no reason why we shouldn’t still be able to go. The problem currently lies in Bangkok – we have to travel through Bangkok to get anywhere, and it’s just not safe at the moment. The government in Thailand are trying to stop the violence and break up the protesters camp, but no-one reallys knows whats going to happen. One of the key things that has happened is the closing of the British Embassy – the camp is very close to the embassy, so they have closed for safety reasons.

Tearfund are still monitering the situation, and it looks like everything is on at the moment, but we won’t know anything for definite until just before we go. This waiting game is starting to frustrate and worry me.

Just found this on the BBC website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8681833.stm

 

7:I’ve been doing some packet sniffing.. 4 May, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — meggshe @ 3:41 pm

So it’s the last day, and my day has been spent studying. I also wrote a letter, and did some uni work that has no relevance to exams…honestly, it was just to distract me from the monotony of studying! I was using wireshark to sniff packets. It sounds really weird, but it’s actually quite interesting. Now, if only someone would come home so I could see if I can packet sniff on our network, and see what they are doing…

I’m going out in just over an hour, to Russell’s birthday shindig, which will be fun. It’ll be good to socialise. Hopefully I won’t be home too late, because I could do with doing some more work before bed. Then it’ll be back to normal tomorrow! Tomorrow I need to phone the doctor about my vaccinations, so hopefully I’ll be able to tell you more about that soon. I’m dreading the affect it’s going to have on my dwindling bank account!

I’ve also been learning some more Thai, and discovering that it’s all about how you say the words, rather than what you say. So I’ve been practising out loud – thankfully both flatmates are out, so they don’t think I’m crazy! I’m quite excited at putting my skills to the test, although worried that I’ll have been doing it all wrong…

la-gon