Last weeks blogs were all about the Elephant Project, what you will do, need and who you will meet there, this week the blogs will all be about our Childcare project here in Surin.
So before I get onto what you will be doing and where, I think I will first introduce you to your coordinator.
This wonderful woman you see before you is Tuk.
She is amazing.
I Love Her.
And I promise you will as well!
Tuk is 32 and has been working for Starfish for 9 months. She is also the sister of our Elephant Coordinator Worn and cousin to another member of staff named Aow.
Tuk and her cousin Aow at our Staff Meeting in Cha Am earlier in the year 😀
Tuk started to learn English when she was working for a company in Phuket that do high wire adventure challenges, something that I find very strange as Tuk is scared of heights! The main reason behind her taking 8 and a half months of working with us to FINALLY get up and ride an elephant; even if it were only for 10 minutes haha
Tuk will never agree with me that her English is as good as it is, I prattle on at a mile a minute and she can still understand me; I don’t even have to change the complexity of what I am saying as you so often have to when speaking with non native speakers. She does have a pretty thick accent that even I ‘Tuk’ (so hilarious) one or two days to get used to. Once you get past that I promise you will think the same as me and have no issues talking with her.
Using her expert knowledge to buy the best kind of fish for the pond at Childcare
Just some of the children that Tuk takes volunteers to look after everyday
Tuk works primarily with Childcare, though does occasionally work with the Teaching and Elephant projects. She is incredibly adaptable and one of the hardest working people I know, she never shys away from any kind of hard labor, she actually loves getting stuck in and muddy more than she does being in the office!
One of the 50 children Tuk looks after with volunteers everyday
Saying that, she is always asleep every time she is in the office…………………. you can tell her and Worn and brother and sister from their ability to sleep at anytime, in any place!!
Tuk and Worn have legendary Napping Skills 😀
This is the pond that Tuk single-handedly built in the Thai sun!!
Whilst working for Starfish Tuk has done so much more than her job, she has single-handedly undertaken the upkeep of a huge vegetable garden at DREAM Surin, dug and stocked a catfish pond and spent hours in the boiling sun fixing everything from water pumps to fences and roofs; there is nothing that Tuk can’t do. Not only has she been doing maintenance on everything and anything, she has spent her own time and money in further improving the school life and learning experiences of the fifty something children that regularly attend Childcare.
The kids are so much easier to look after when they are asleep!!
Tuk is definitely the loudest member of our team here in Surin, her laugh carries from one side of Thailand to the next and her smile is incredibly infectious. She works so insatiably hard for every volunteer she has, she is the big sister of our group and often the mother for me. Tuk has looked after me and the volunteers more than I can ever give her credit for and she gets nothing but positive feedback from the volunteers because of all of the hard work she puts in everyday.
Tuk, Me and Taryn – one of the many nights Tuk has looked after us all
For everyone that is coming to Surin to do the Childcare project you are going to have an incredible time anyway, but I can assure you that your time with us will be even better because of Tuk, she will give you anecdotes and memories to keep forever. Tuk has some of the most amazing one liners that even thinking about them now, cracks me up.
For example, me and an ex volunteer who came back to visit, were sat outside our 7/11 chatting to the staff and Tuk turns up, more than a little tipsy, on her moped and begins chatting with us. I notice that she has way too long a threads coming off her jean shorts so I pull off the ones that look ridiculous, this is then met by Tuk asking me
‘Why you take off my fashion? This is my fashion, you want, you buy, you no take from me ok???’
Both me and the volunteer I was with cracked up into fits of giggles as Tuk took the piece of thread from me and retied it back onto her jean shorts, hoped on her moped and left, shouting back to me that
‘Next time, you no take off my fashion ok??’
As always it is all well and good me telling you how wonderful I think Tuk is but it is better to hear it from the mouths of people who have actually had the pleasure of having Tuk, not only as their coordinator but as their friend.
Tuk, Taryn and Denise (Sisaket) at the local Silk Village
‘Your life has just improved once you have Tuk. She is full of love, kindness,a wicked sense of humor & a passion for looking after volunteers. Her laugh & cuddles will stay with you forever! She will go above & beyond to ensure that you have the best possible experience in beautiful Thailand. The kids love her, the volunteers adore her & I know she is invaluable to Starfish. I miss my Thailand sister! Can’t wait to go back & see her!’ – Taryn Hayler
Nick is the one with the sunglasses one
‘Real helpful and overall a cracking lady’ – Nick Port (Another very long and insightful quote from Nick there; typical Aussie)
Esther with one of the elephants at the Study center we spend time at on the Elephant Project
‘The most beautiful laugh, that’s what you will hear all the time when you around Tuk!’ – Esther Meewezen
Anya working as hard as ever with Tuk on the Elephant Project
‘Tuk is an incredible person to be around, she’s always enthusiastic and will never stop making you laugh x’ – Anya Gartside
To see more of what Tuk is doing then you can always check out her Facebook or her Twitter. I won’t lie, Tuk is not a computer person, she is a jungle girl so checking my own Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram pages are probably the best way of seeing what she is up to on a weekly basis.
Make sure you look at the Starfish Website, Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page or the Starfish Tumblr if you haven’t yet signed up to hang out with Tuk and you want a little more info about the Childcare project. You can always stay tuned for my blog tomorrow though as that will all be about a usual day on the Childcare project!
Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto