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All week both the YinD (Youth in Development) and TCCS (Teacher Collaborator and Community Service) programs worked together to put on a mini English camp! The focus of the camp was “ASEAN,” which stands for Association of South East Asian Nations. ASEAN is a huge deal in Thailand right now because Thailand will become a member of the ASEAN community in 2015. This is also the main reason why the focus of our program (TCCS) has been designed around collaboration with Thai English (as a foreign language) teachers. The Royal Thai government is currently working towards reforming education to become more student-centered and also wants students to become proficient in English to meet ASEAN requirements.
We spent Monday through Wednesday preparing for the camp, and it actually took place at a local school on Thursday. Since we had really limited time to prepare, it was shorter than a typical camp would be (one day instead of two). All of the Peace Corps trainees worked so hard to make it happen, and it ended up being really successful! The students seemed to have a really great time forming friendships and learning English. The volunteers did a great job creating student-centered, participatory learning environments for the children, and I continue to be so impressed with how creative everyone is! The purpose of planning a camp during training was to give all of us some experience with organizing a camp. Peace Corps volunteers often put on various English and/or Life Skills camps in their host communities during Peace Corps service (as requested by the community) and also travel to the sites of other volunteers to help teach and support at camps in other communities. It sounds like TCCS volunteers tend to organize English camps, while YinD volunteers organize English camps and/or Life Skills camps. I really hope this is something that Zack and I are able to do at some point!
On Friday we had a wonderful guest speaker at training, Venerable Phra Anil Sakya, a Buddhist monk. He spoke to us about Buddhism in Thailand and was not only interesting to listen to, but also had a really great sense of humor! Here’s a link to an interview with Venerable Phra Anil Sakya if you are interested in learning more. I am so impressed with Peace Corps staff for being able to connect us with someone so open and knowledgeable about Buddhism in Thailand.
Saturday we went on a “bpai tiao” (trip)! We rode a “rot song-taao” (the same mode of transportation we used to visit the vice governor our first week) to Wat Kae, the National Museum of Suphanburi and the 100 Year Market in Saam Chuk. It was one of the most fun days that we have had yet, and I definitely felt like a tourist for the first time since being in Thailand. Check out all of the pictures in this week’s albums!
I think that’s it for this week! Today we find out where Zack and I will be for two years in Thailand, so plan for big news in my next post. We also get to go visit our permanent host site at the end of this week, so I probably won’t post a new blog entry for a couple of weeks. Best wishes to everyone back home! <3