In the end of October 2010 I arrived at the Father Ray Foundation in Pattaya. I arrived with an idea about what was going to happen; I was going to work with blind children, disabled people and street kids etc. The work was pretty much what i expected; amazing and I got a really close relationship to some of the children and some of my students. On a regular day I would teach disabled students English in the morning and they are just great. Even though they are disabled they often have an even better mood than non-disabled people. I really admire a lot of the students I had. In the afternoon I typically worked with blind children. We played games with the children but my absolute favorite was when we took them swimming.
The children simply loved it. When they heard my voice they would always say “wainam, wainam” which means swim. We would take as many children as possible swimming but we could only take 6-8 per day. Imagine being blind. The children are being careful when they walk because they are afraid about bumping into something and getting hurt. When they swim they can just go crazy in the water, no worries about getting hurt. We often had to discuss with the children about when it was time to stop swimming and go eat because some of them didn’t want to stop swimming.
After seeing the children being so happy about the swimming it also affects your own mood and you are looking forward to doing it again the next day.
My idea about what was going to happen about the work was right, but I had no idea about how great a social life I would get the next six months. One thing is the work, another thing is the social life at the Foundation. We we’re about 25 volunteers when I worked at Father Ray and what was really great was the multinational environment. I’m from Denmark and we were several Danish volunteers but I spent way more time with the Chinese volunteers. You learn so much about other people but also about yourself.
In the end of May 2011 I will visit the Foundation again and I am really looking forward to see my students and the blind children again.
Jacob – Denmark