After being a little underwhelmed with the Bangkajao; better known as the Green lungs of Bangkok the last time Joe and I visited (read all about it here!), I was a little hesitant to return…but this time we had local guides in the form of Thai children to show us around, so it’s got to better right?
We signed up to volunteer at a local school in Bangkajao as part of their Cultural Exchange program, they don’t have a native English speaking teacher at their school so the whole idea was to get the kids having conversations with native speakers as well as being immersed in a foreign language throughout the day. When we arrived I was dragged away by two sweet young girls who wanted to sit next to me for the first activity; we were given incorrect name cards and had to ask everyone in the group what their name was, find the person’s name card we had and return it to them. Next we took part in a ‘speed dating’ event; we had 30 seconds with a student who had to ask us as many questions as they could in that time; how are you, how old are you and what do you do, what is your dream (that one was extremely hard to answer! My actual reccuring dream is where I discover that I’m really just 2 dwarfs in a trench-coat, but how do you tell that to not only a child but a child that doesn’t speak your language?! I settled on to travel the world). After downing a glass of sugar cane juice it was time to paint a mural on the wall of the school, which thankfully had already been drawn, we just had to colour it in.
My buddies for the day (the girls who practically assaulted me earlier) were Lotus and Wan, Wan was tiny and I aptly named her ‘Little Wan’ for my own amusement, she didn’t really get it but Mai Bpen Rai. The girls spoke very little English and I speak very little Thai so communicating with them was exceptionally difficult and we were left to our own devices for the majority of the day. Having said that; they were two of the sweetest, kindest souls I’ve ever met. They held my hand everywhere we went, constantly smiled at me, took me for delicious food at the nearby floating market, showed me their way of tie-dying, saved me a seat with them and their friends, showed me the best places to visit in the Botanical Gardens, chose the best Thai dessert for me to eat and didn’t leave my side for the entire day. Lotus and Wan, you’re the cutest and you made my day- You’re the best guides a girl could dream of having!
If you live in Bangkok or surrounding areas and want to volunteer then send an email to; firstname.lastname@example.org to see what programs they have coming up. I couldn’t recommend these guys more!