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BrynnUtela

 
What are the ethnic foods that you eat on a normal basis?

All of them. If they don't have meat, I put it in my mouth and enjoy.

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ProWorld Thailand People to People International high school group work

ProWorld Thailand had a group of 15 high school students from all around the US join us this summer for two weeks, through People to People International. It was a challenging couple of weeks for the students, far from home and in a completely new environment, but the students prevailed, contributing great group effort to their local project, and absorbing a new culture and understanding about themselves throughout the entire experience.

ProWorld Thailand People to People International high school group work

Thailand Chiang Mai, Thailand  |  Aug 29, 2012
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 It was a joy to see all that these high school students had to give to Thailand, and to witness all that Thailand had to offer them. That circular transformation and cultural exchange is what ProWorld is all about. 

It was a busy season this summer in Thailand.  We had a lovely group of Japanese college students join us this August for a two-week program, a Hands on Healthcare group this July-August, and a fantastic high school group of students joined us for two weeks in July.

I thought I’d take this time to reflect on this special group of high school volunteers, seeing as I spent so much time with them this summer. The teenage students were a first for ProWorld Thailand this year, but we certainly hope to have more in the future.  What hard workers!

The group was comprised of 15 high school students from all over the United States. The group was organized by People to People International, which is a non-profit based in the U.S., dedicated to improving the lives international understanding and friendship through humanitarian activities.  With the slogan, “Peace Through Understanding,” and a competitive application process, it’s no wonder that these students were such a pleasure to work with.

The fifteen students began their stay with ProWorld with a cultural and geographical orientation of ProWorld, and some shopping at a local hilltribe market.  The students were taught some basic Thai, and then in pairs, were asked to head off through the Thai food market in search of a food.  Since the students didn’t know exactly what they were looking for, they returned triumphantly back to the larger group when they had successfully procured their fruit.  Then the exotic fruit swap and tasting began.  Definitely a fun way to learn some Thai!

The students headed off to their project at a local orphanage the following week.  The students worked Monday – Friday at the orphanage for the two-week duration for their stay, assisting the children at the home with their chores in the afternoon, playing games, and helping cook. While the children were at school during the day, the ProWorld People to People volunteers helped out teaching English at their school, or helped with projects at the orphanage.

The projects at the orphanage varied, but certainly tested the endurance of the young ProWorld volunteers.  The orphanage tries to be as sustainable as possible, with their own rice paddies, vegetable garden, fish pond, and livestock, including pigs, ducks and chickens. While a fantastic way to help support themselves, feed the children, and help teach the children responsibility and relation to their food and land, maintaining the property and planting the crops requires a lot of work. One of the main projects for the high school students was to help build a fence surrounding the property of the children’s home, since they have been victim to theft as of late.  The volunteers helped to dig fence post holes, carry the posts, and to place the posts.  This was a huge project, as the fence surrounded all of the rice paddies, and the large vegetable garden!

The ProWorld volunteers also helped to turn over the garden for planting, and to plant nearly a hundred pineapple plants.  The pineapples won’t be ready to eat for about a year, but all of the high school students were invited back to taste them in 2013. 

Along with diligent work, the high school students also visited local temples and learned about Buddhism and meditation.  They had the opportunity to go elephant trekking, visit an orchid far, visit local markets, and even travel to the hillside village from which many of the children in the orphanage came.  When not participating in ProWorld activities, the People to People ProWorld students were also reading about the cultural history of Thailand and doing research projects. It was a busy two weeks, but the students made huge waves at the children’s home.  Just as important, the experience these high school American students had in their two weeks in Thailand was clearly hugely impacting on their own development.

It was a joy to see all that these high school students had to give to Thailand, and to witness all that Thailand had to offer them. That circular transformation and cultural exchange is what ProWorld is all about.

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  • ProWorld Thailand People to People International high school group work

    August 29, 2012
    16 Photos | No Video