Yesterday you all met our beautiful Childcare coordinator Tuk, today you will be looking at the work that she does with volunteers on a typical day at Childcare.
Our childcare center at Wat Tung
Our Childcare center is located in a village around 16KMs away from Surin called Ban Tung, and is based at a small yet beautiful temple called Wat Tung. Wat Tung is a typical Thai temple, it has a crematorium, a main temple and a few small monks houses; the way that Wat Tung is different to other temples is that is the home to the Wat Tung Childcare Center.
The Temple at Wat Tung
Every morning we raise the flag and sing the Thai national anthem
A typical day at Childcare starts at 8am with the drive to Wat Tung, once there volunteers get to spend the morning meeting the children and being their very own jungle gym. Now when I say jungle gym, I mean jungle gym. Never did I think that I could carry as many children at one time as I can.
The kids going batty over bubbles
We have up to 50 kids at the center at any one time, they range in age from 1-5 years old and some of them cry, some of them don’t; hopefully the one that likes you the most won’t be the one that ALWAYS cries loads haha But no matter which kid you get, whether it is my favourite boy ‘Big’ or the most beautiful Thai girl I have ever seen, ‘Uhee’, they are all desperate to be near you, hold your hands, do back flips off you, get pony rides and endless piggybacks.
Just a few of the beautiful children we have at Wat Tung
Seeing as it is the beginning of term next week there will be lots of new arrivals who are not yet used to being away from their parents so there may well be A LOT of tears for the first few days; ear plugs at the ready me thinks!!
The morning also sees volunteers helping the teachers with doing exersize activities like pretending to be various animals, playing a super pyhscial version of SimonSays or the cow and tiger game which is sort of like Duck, Duck, Goose. Basically there is a circle of kids and one walks around the outside of the circle with a cloth and then has to place it behind someone in the circle as quietly as they can and then run around the circle to take the place of the person they placed the cloth behind. And BREATHE! Does that make sense? I think it does, I hope it does as you will be playing it at some point haha
The kids enjoying playing with the Pom Poms that volunteers made in their morning Dance session
Volunteers at Childcare also get the opportunity to teach English with the children as well. I think that this is one of the most important parts of the work that volunteers do, by starting to teach the kids English early they pick it up much quicker than they do at school and it gives them the passion to keep learning it as well. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to spend time with these kids and see them improve their English from speaking no words at all to be able to say your name, count from 1-10 or name animals and colours It really does warm your heart and show you just how much of a difference you make when you volunteer with us.
Teaching the children art and colours
After English lessons, playing games and being a jungle gym you can help to prepare the lunch for the children. There are 50 children so this is a military operation. Each child here is lucky enough to get a very healthy and nutritious meal that they may not always get at home.
The main meal that the children get is normally a rice based meal, as are most meals in Thailand, and is always accompanied with some kind of meat and vegetables. After this main meal, each child is given a piece of fruit that is grown locally, this is most commonly pineapples or bananas. Volunteers are invited to help prepare, cook and present children with their food, there are 50 after all and no one person can make all that on their own!
Are you sure you brushed them properly?
After the children have their lunch they have to brush their teeth, oral hygiene in Thailand is awful so this is a VERY important part of the day at Childcare. Once the children have brushed their teeth they get ready to have their nap, I say get ready as they don’t nap, they go crazy. Like legit crazy!! Running, screaming, fighting, all the fun things that children do. After about half an hour or so they crash and all take their nap (YAY!)
So quiet when they are all asleep 😀
This is the time that volunteers get to go to a local restaurant and have some AMAZING food that is CRAZY cheap! I personally love the ‘Chicken Fried Rice’ and the ‘Goi Djab’ that they sell; they are big old plates of food as well so don’t fill up too much at breakfast as you will regret not being able to eat a whole plate at lunch time 😀
Our DREAM Garden
After lunch we go back to Wat Tung and spend time helping to make the center self sustainable. Depending on the weather and what everyone wants to do we either spend time working in the garden, planting new vegetables, looking after the fish or undertaking maintenance OR you can spend time working on helping to build the new Childcare center. I think that this is the best way to spend your time as once you see the center we currently work in you will see that it isn’t in the best state and we desperately need to finish our new build. You can do anything from plastering, to mixing concrete to building a new wall or fixing in the huge windows.
Tuk taste testing the natural fertilizer
All of the work done in the afternoon goes towards better improving the future for these children, if they have nowhere to learn then they will be forced to work in the rice fields and farms with their parents. I want the very best for these children and I know that you do as well so helping out with development in the afternoon is the very, very best thing that you can do. I won’t lie, it is hard, it is hot and yes, you will get sweaty and probably get covered in mud or concrete but you will be making a difference to the lives, not only of the children that you spend time with, but the children that keep coming to the center every year.
The boys racing ‘motorbikes’ in the volunteer built playground
As much as this is a basic plan of what we do everyday at Childcare, it is impossible to do the same thing everyday, the kids will make everyday different and more amazing than the last. You can’t even imagine how many wonderful memories I have from working on Childcare just because of something hilarious that one of the kids has done or said.
Who wouldn’t want to improve the lives of kids as adorable as this??
You too will also have the most amazing time working on the Childcare project with the even more amazing Tuk 😀
For more information about the childcare project as well as others that we offer take a look at the Starfish Website, Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook page or the Starfish Tumblr. You will find LOADS of super helpful info on all of those pages.
Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto