- Group:Canadian International School
Bangalore, May, 2017
- Age:16-17 years old
- Group Size:28 students 3 teachers
- Destination:Krabi, Thailand
Every year during the term 3 semester for us IB1's, our school offers us a list of CAS projects to choose from in order for us to recharge our batteries and take a break from academics. Out of a few of these options, we were lucky enough to have Projects Abroad come to us with their care and community project in Krabi, Thailand.
Preparing for the trip
After we had ﬁnished signing up for this project, our teachers formed us a Thursday school club to help us get prepared for the trip. Our teachers showed us some video clips about Thai culture and some guidelines that we needed to follow while we were there. A swimming session was held during one of the days, to see whether we were ready enough to go snorkelling.
During one of the last club sessions, just a few days before our departure. We had a member of projects abroad come in, Mr. Ashish John; who answered all of our ﬁnal questions and taught us how to ﬁll in all the visa applications and paperwork that was required.
Travelling, arriving and settling in Krabi
After approximately seven to eight hours of travelling from Bangalore to Bangkok, and Bangkok to Krabi. We were all pretty exhausted and most of us were justice itching to take a shower. There wasn't really any culture shock, as most of us had already been to Thailand before. However, I did not expect the weather to be as humid as I thought it would be. Our trip from the Krabi international airport to our accommodation in Ao Nang Beach Resort was quite panoramic and picturesque. Most of us were half asleep from that tiring journey, which was bound to change in the next few days.
On arrival at Ao Nang Beach Resort, we were all made to assemble at the dining area and was introduced to our localProjects Abroad staff. There were some food and drinks on the table for us, which was quite refreshing. We were then given a PowerPoint presentation about Thai culture by the Projects Abroad members Earb and Nou. This slideshow contained some very interesting and funny myths about Thai culture. After around 30-45 mins, we ﬁnally allowed to get into our rooms and rest for awhile. The resort was situated at a beautiful location just opposite the sea, and around it were many shops and restaurants. Night life in Krabi and around the place we stayed was quite timeless.
Project Work - Volunteering
After the ﬁrst day of settling into Krabi and getting to know the place, the ﬁrst activity that we started with on arrival at Krabi was snorkelling. This was done on the second day, at Poda island/ Chicken island. Prior to this activity we were briefed by two projects abroad members, Andy and Wilcow, who spoke to us about the coral reefs, ﬁshes and the guidelines for snorkelling. We were then given all the necessary equipment that was to be used while snorkelling such as the snorkelling mask, ﬂippers and a net, which we had to use to collect any debris that was seen ﬂoating in the sea.
Snorkelling was soon followed by beach cleaning on the same day. For this activity we worked in groups of two where one person had to collect organic trash and the other inorganic. It was quite surprising to see the amount of trash that was around the beach, and to know that such materials like plastic take hundreds of years to decompose was quite disturbing. The current state of our ecosystems is quite on the verge of shifting to a new equilibrium, and once this happens there's no turning back. counts. This activity also helped us learn the importance of waste segregation and how the environment suffers greatly from improper waste disposal. We managed to collect around 12 bags of trash which was quite low for us number of students that were involved in the activity.Soil tilling for mangrove plantation was by far the most physically challenging yet. For this activity, we were split into two groups and made to work on two different ﬁelds. We were required to plough the ﬁelds in order for the locals to have easier access to plant the mangroves. During this activity we often had to collaborate as a team, as this task required a lot of physical demands. It was only after this activity that we realised how hard it was to work out on the ﬁelds during a hot sunny day, and this made me appreciate things more. I also learned the importance of mangroves in an ecosystem; giving food and shelter to ﬁshes and other plants around them. For most of us it was the ﬁrst time we ever performed such a labour task, and I think this was one of the greatest experiences that we were able to be subjected too. It was deﬁnitely something that helped us move out of our comfort zones.
The ﬁnal activity was a care project done at a local community school, where we taught English, art and educational games to the students. A day before this, we had traveled to the volunteering care and community centre, where they had informed us about the necessary items that we needed to take for next two days and how to perform some of the activities. On arrival at the school and meeting the kids, most of them seemed pretty shy at ﬁrst. We started our time there by introducing ourselves by stating our names and nationality, and later followed up with our groups. There were three groups that we had formed the previous day each supervised by our respective teachers, this was done in order to manage things more smoothly.
During the last day at the local community school towards the end of the day, we had begun painting a few walls around the whole campus. Everything looked really well done once this was over, and it was something to treasure. We ended our time there by providing snacks and drinks to the students and teachers. The kids thanked us for our time we spent there and gave us hugs before our departure. We only wished we could have stayed longer.
Other Trip Activities
Though we only spent a total of 6 days in Krabi, we did have a few trips around the area. The ﬁrst one took place on the ﬁrst day of our arrival, after we had settled in and washed ourselves. We set sail for a cruise around 1:30pm that day. It was a nice way to get started and refuel our energies for the following few days. Relaxing, beautiful and memorable are the only few words I can describe that moment.
Almost every night our teachers and some of the Projects Abroad members took us out for shopping.
On the ﬁnal day of our stay in Krabi, we were taken to a Buddhist monastery in the morning to offer the monks some food and to receive their blessings. Once this was over we headed straight for lunch to a restaurant.
As the old saying goes, 'All good things must come to an end'. Similarly in this case it was of course hard saying goodbye to Krabi and all the people there, but as one door closes another one opens. I don't think I can describe the whole trip in words too much. We would just like to thank all of our three teachers Mr. Dirk, Mr. Anil and Miss Asha for having taken care of us throughout this whole trip. I would also like to especially thank Mr. Ashish John who was with us throughout the whole trip from Bangalore to Krabi and back; always looked out for us and provided us with anything that was needed. Not to forget Miss Bessie Richards who was with us for all 6 days of the project; helping out with pretty much everything regardless of being asked.
Projects Abroad or even volunteering in general is something I will always consider doing when given the opportunity at the right circumstances. I think all of us would have most certainly liked to have stayed for more than just those 6 days. I had never expected to have had such a great time, but I guess the best things in life always arrive at the most unexpected moments. Thank you Projects Abroad and everyone that was apart of this trip.
By Rahul Sivabalan