Are we there yet???? – Every child and adult; ever
Well. . . . . what a way to start a new week, I quit my job, got an internship, moved to Thailand and didn’t loose my bags in the airport, and I get to live in Bangkok for a few days, maybe I don’t get to live in the Grand Palace but all in all a rather jolly few days I think!
The name’s Wendy (the one on the right)
and I am currently sat, 7 hours after landing at Bangkok airport, with no sleep and a very confused perception of exactly what day and time it is, starting a blog about why I am still awake with a confused perception of exactly what day and time it is, but in light of all of that, I am probably the luckiest person in the world right now. I am sat in a cool and air conditioned office in Bangkok with the sign outside reading ‘Starfish Volunteers’, the name of the company that managed to steal my heart when I first came to Thailand in June of 2012.
I origionally came to Thailand to work as a volunteer with Starfish in a city called Surin, which, depending on your mode of transport could be four to eight hours of travelling in either a nicely air conditioned car or a not so cool wind-through-open-windows conditioned train; I was fortunate enough to experience the latter which was a rather interesting way to spend time with 11 other volunteers who I barely knew but ended up sitting on the floor of the train playing card games with, something which enticed both the rail staff and the Thai people unlucky enough to be in our unruly carriage.
For me, working with elephants in a very small and remote village was something that other people did, not me, not the rainbow haired, video game loving, knitting fanatic that I am. But there I was, spending my time sat on the back of an elephant never quite sure to be worried more about how likely I was to fall off or how sore my bum would be in the morning, incidentally the sore bum always won out.
I fell completely and utterly in love with Surin, the people, my co-ordinators, the weather, the elephants, Starfish itself, the soi dogs, Big C, the language, the bugs. . . . no wait NOT the bugs! Mosquitos suck! Both your blood and the actual experience itself; don’t get bitten.
Not even the mosquitos could put me off my own Starfish adventure so after my own exceptional 4 week project where I became very close with both my fellow volunteers and the amazing staff that work at Starfish I began to think that I could be one of those amazing staff that made me feel like I was a friend and not a customer, someone they wanted to spend time with even when they wern’t working and someone that they would call to bleach their hair at 3 oclock on a Sunday afternoon after a rather heavy night out.
I could be that person.
So, low and behold here I am sat in this cool and air conditioned office with the opportunity to finally be that person. I started this blog not only as a way to track my own time with Starfish but also as a way to try and tell just as many people as I possibly can how wonderful Starfish and their projects are, not only to the volunteers but to the Thai people and communities that they support. Because unlike the majority of other companies that claim to give you a true experience of what Thailand is when all they do is take your money, Starfish, for nearly ten years, have been contributing nearly three quarters of the money volunteers pay directly back into the projects that they have.
Projects like working with elephants, teaching, medical care, volun-touring, building and also undertaking the mammoth task of building and sustaining an orphanage with over 40 children in it. Not only do they do this in Thailand in several different locations they have also moved recently into projects in India; there really are no limits to the difference that Starfish wants to make on the world.
For a better less jet lagged explanation of the projects Starfish does, have a ganders at the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page and sign up to the Starfish newsletter; or if you are super savvy with technology you could check out the Starfish Tumblr page or
#starfishvolunteers if you are signed up to Instagram.
Build. Protect. Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto