January has somehow flown by as I’ve now passed the one year mark of arriving in
Thailand. This month has included one of the most
memorable activities I’ve participated in so far during my Peace Corps service
– a BTF camp. BTF (Brighter Thailand
Foundation) is a non-profit organization based out of the University
of Missouri that supports leadership
camps for youth in Thailand. The six day camp includes local University
students, global ambassadors (such as PC volunteers and in the case of this
camp, a few University students from Korea), and local high school and
primary school students. They’ve done
several camps throughout Thailand,
and this one was held in Nong Khai, the northernmost province in northeast Thailand. The first few days serve as a ‘train the
trainer’ model of working with 15 high school students on various games and
activities, preparing them to facilitate camp activities for the primary school
students who arrive on the 4th day of the camp. Each day includes activities, songs, and
games that run all day and through the evening.
Evenings provided opportunities for many games of mafia and a few open
question/answer sessions for the campers to get to know the University students
and global ambassadors. The students
were great, each day was full of smiles and laughs and by the end of the week
none of the kids wanted to leave (I didn’t really, either). It was a great experience for all and I was
really happy to be a part of it.
Group work: 5 most important things in life
Act it out: each person acts out a word for the next person with no words; the person at the end has to try to guess the original word - usually wound up in laughs
Primary school campers arrive!
Blindfold obstacle course: practicing directions in English
Who can make the longest line?
Team Free Style
Capture the flag
Jumping pictures: always a must
Global Ambassadors and High School students
Me with a few of the campers
Korean University students
Last day goodbyes
Last weekend I took a couple buses a couple hours away to climb a mountain and go camping. Four of us (a fellow PCV friend, his sister and her fiancée) hiked up the winding paths and after about 4 hours, reached the top where we walked almost another hour to the campsite. After setting up my newly purchased mini-tent for myself we all set out for another 9k hike to see some cliffs and the sunset. A long walk and a few short runs later, we made it to the sunset cliff just after sunset, but just in time to see the beautiful view against the evening glow. After a brief rest, many pictures and a few snacks, we headed out for another 9k hike back to the campsite. Being at the top of a mountain during cold season proved to be pretty cold, though I’m trying to appreciate the chill as I know the sweaty days of hot season are creeping closer. The next day we packed up and headed back down the mountain and back to site.
Phu Kradung Conqueror: at the top
Made it to the sunset cliff just after sunset
View from the top