Farang (foreigner)

Farang (foreigner)

Occasionally, well, often. As you are walking down the street, you’ll hear this and know that they are talking about you. It also means papaya, so you might be safe if they dont look your way after saying this.

 

Another week is coming to a close in Thailand. Just spent a lovely week teaching english and photographing between 2 temples. Both temples are lovely, secluded well off the main roads of Doi Saket. The temple where we are staying, and tutoring at night, is Wat Mon. About 8 novices live at the temple, many from the hill tribes, and about 4 monks, which includes an American from Chicago – Phra Michael. Phra means monk. When we first arrived, our schedule was a little different because of some festivities the monks and novices took part in. This included chanting in the morning and giving merit, and at night, chanting outside of their temple, and Dhamma talks in the evenings. Phra Michael has some English translations I’m still hoping to get my hands on. But even still, the chanting is wonderful to listen to. What an experience it was to wake up before daylight and sit among the monks chanting- so peaceful.

 

The school where we teach at is about a 5 minute drive away at another temple – Wat Haong Bau (“fish pond temple”). There are five levels of novices we teach under a bamboo structure outside. I find it much more pleasant to teach under these than behind stark cold white walls. Because we are only here for a week, we started off with a quick introduction game, 2 truths one lie. And we thought it would be fun to introduce the novices to some words associated with a camera, and have them complete a photo scavenger hunt. From a list they were to take their phones, and photograph what we asked. All in all it was a successful activity. The english teacher Natchapon (“Natch”) is a lot of fun, too. Super friendly and full of energy and wit. He is our ride between the temples, and most evenings he’s been showing us around the area. The first night a dam with one of the most amazing views I have seen here yet. Yesterday he took us to see a ceramics factory.

 

Last night, during our first tutoring session witht the novices at wat mon, we sat around and introduced some silly drawing games. most of the novices really enjoyed it, so I thought it would be fun to pull out some charcoal and paper. Beside from the mess, this turned into a wonderful experience. The novices seemed to warm up to us almost instantly, and I walked away with some pretty cool charcoal pieces in the process.

Tomorrow is our last day at the temples. And next week I will be venturing back out to the hill tribe of Mae-La to teach some art. Sad to leave here, but excited for another round of adventures. I have a feeling I’ll be spending some more time here…

 

Mellissa

Prakriti Malhotra is the founding director of Inspire. She has over 12 years’ experience helping individuals plan their overseas volunteering trips whether it be for their gap year, a sabbatical from work or a post retirement adventure.
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