Nicole Mattia - General Care Projects in Thailand
My decision to go to Thailand began with the desire to live in a third-world country. With some research I fell in love with Thailand and when I finally arrived I fell in love even more! The people I have met and places I have been on my journey are like no other. Being able to see the impact I made on the lives of others is incredible. Being able to see the impact they have had on me is even greater.
I am so fortunate to have lived with Pi Earb and her family. From the moment she picked me up until the day I left she always, and I mean always, had the biggest smile on her face! Lucky for me Pi Earb is an English teacher, so we were easily able to communicate. Her family did not speak much English but that did not stop them from making sure we all felt at home! I was able to experience authentic Thai food which was super delicious; they even offered to teach us some of the recipes!
I lived in a three-story condo with three other volunteers. I was the last to arrive of the girls but we quickly bonded! The house was clean and homey with a big family to make you feel welcome. By the end of my stay I truly felt as though Krabi Town was my second home. The strangers I first moved in with quickly became my second family. I cannot thank Pi Earb, her family, or my roommates enough for being my second family in this new home.
Volunteering on the Care project
For my month in Thailand I worked at Klong Hin Day-care Centre! The school was much different than I expected it to be but it quickly became my favourite place to be. The teachers there are absolutely wonderful. They have so much to share as well as a strong interest in our own lives. I saw amazing things on my trip but nothing compares to my time with the children. Being given this amazing opportunity to teach the students is by far the most rewarding thing I have ever done.
Every morning I would greet the children as they came into class. Some students quickly bond to you and the next thing you know you have a shadow following you around! Other students may be shy to begin with, however, over time they will feel comfortable. I had one little girl that was my best friend. She did everything with me and would always hold my hand!
Once we greeted the children we had all the classes come out for morning exercise which included a lot of singing and dancing! Afterward I began my daily activity for the children. The Projects Abroad office has plenty of materials for you to make crafts for the kids and you also get a weekly budget to buy supplies. Aside from those duties, I would help keep the kids under control, help with brushing their teeth and handing out food trays. You’ll be surprised at how tired you get but don’t worry the teacher often lets you nap with the students. I remember being overwhelmed when I heard all my duties but it becomes second nature so do not worry.
Exploring in Thailand
With only a month in Thailand I knew I had to use any time available to see new things and meet new people! Lucky for me I had three other roommates who quickly became my best friends! We did everything together including travelling, working, eating and socialising. Some of the spots I visited were Tiger Cave Temple (an exhausting 1260 step climb), Ao Nang, Railey Beach, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket, Bangkok, the Emerald Pool, the hot springs and plenty more.
The list of incredible places you can go is forever long. My last weekend before I left I visited Bangkok, which is an hour flight from Krabi Town but if you have time this city is worth the stop. I went to a giant market in the city where you could find food, clothing, art and even pets! The rows of shops never ended it was amazing. Not only that but I visited three temples and the Grand Palace all in one day! Everywhere you turned in this country was rich in culture and so beautiful.
I came into Thailand nervous and excited. I left Thailand sad to be separating from my second home. My time in Thailand was truly unforgettable. The people and places I ventured too have impacted my life in a huge way. Now that I am home I feel as though the Thai culture has remained a part of my spirit. You learn to live simply and enjoy everything this world has to offer. I plan to return to Thailand someday.
This volunteer story may include references to working in or with orphanages. Find out more about Projects Abroad's current approach to volunteering in orphanages and our focus on community-based care for children.