Glorious Thailand Part 3: Helping with English Practice in the Land of the Saffron Robed Monks.

By Paul Sinclair (One World One People for Peace) 28/07/02

G'Day champions,

How are we all? I'm just sitting outside on a typical beautiful, sunny morning, not a cloud in the sky (sorry all you nice people in England). I'm watching as some brave locals jump off the nearby Tamborine Mountain Range and hand glide all the way down to a landing area right next to my mum's backyard. You've really got to know your thermals and wind up there! Otherwise you might end up with a koala's view of the
This was the sort of view I was waking up to
every morning in this Thai Paradise.
Wat Suan Kaew Foundation

surrounding national park!

But before we leave some goodies out on the great brown backyard that is Australia and see what interesting things turn up on the nose, to have a sniff, a look and a forage. Let's get the fork and spoon ready for another serving of the Thai culture stir fried with lemongrass, chillies and coconut milk. What a place, what people and what an experience!

If you remember, I was very keen to volunteer my services and had just very kindly been given a tour of Wat Suan Kaew by its secretary Mrs Duanjai. Afterwards I was asked what I wanted to do. So I answered that I didn't mind what I did but suggested that I be put to work wherever I was most needed. In response to this, Mrs Duanjai told me that she lived in the countryside next to a University for Buddhist Monks. She said that the students there desperately needed someone to help them with their English and asked me if I would come stay with her and her family and teach.

So the next thing I was living out in the countryside amongst the rice paddies in a lovely little house on stilts, with three novice Buddhist monks, no electricity, no running water, dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, birds, fish, turtles and one of the kindest families I have ever met. They spoilt me rotten with their hospitality and their cooking. They relentlessly cooked me the most amazing food and variety of meals I've ever had. Thai people are like Italians when it comes to cooking, they really go for it!

And if this wasn't fantastic enough you should have seen the welcome I would get at the university each day. There were over 1200 monks and novices there and I was treated constantly like I was some kind of celebrity. Plain old me!

After the head teacher got to know me I was even invited to give lectures with the help of an interpreter. I was given free rein to lecture on what I felt like talking about and this later became taking questions. Important questions like world peace, ideology, world politics, Australia, UK, girls, was I married and why not, did I like Thai girls, could I marry one and settle in Thailand and teach at the University permanently, did I like David Beckam and Manchester United, Premiership football, World Cup football (They were all stark raving football mad. Couldn't get enough of it!) and finally more about girls.

What was especially cool, was that most of them had been learning English for years, but had never had a chance to speak it with anyone other than their teachers and friends. Most of them were very shy with it, but that soon changed, the confidence grew and they were so happy about it.

So there you go my champion friends, all these wonderful opportunities to do something useful, make new friends, have glorious experiences and receive very happy memories. And just think, none of this would have happened if I hadn't made the effort to volunteer in the first place and just go with the flow.

Wait! Someone's calling my name. Sorry, people I've got to go. The rugby league is about to come on the box and the beers in the fridge must have started calling my name again. In the next email I will try to share a little adventure of how I was taken to see something very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very special. Till then, take care, Bye now.



Click here to view images from Wat Suan Kaew, Thailand


Other articles in the series:

Helping the Poor and Socially Disadvantaged in 'Magnificent Thailand', Part 1, 30 June 2002

Glorious Thailand, Part 2, The Splenderous Work of a Little Monk, 15 July 2002

Glorious Thailand, Part 4, Helping Monks Care for Aids Suffers, 14 August 2002

Glorious Thailand, Part 5, Family: The Real Meaning of Being Human, 21 October 2002

 

If you are interested in teaching Monks english at the M.V.K Buddhist College please contact Mrs Duangjai Thittayarak at:

www.suankaew.org

or

Wat Suan Kaew Bang-Yai District,
Bang-Lane Sub-District,
Nonthaburi Province 11140
Thailand

Tel : +66(0)-2921-5603-4 Ext. 118 ; 0-18509796
Fax : +66(0)-2595-1222
Helping the monks practise their English can be a
fun as well as rewarding experience
Wat Suan Kaew Foundation

One World One People, 24 January 2002
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