Barbecued chicken and pork, savoury sticky rice, vegetable spring rolls, coconut milk pancakes, Chinese doughnuts; the students ventured into a Thai market at 7:30 this morning and these are just some of the items they returned with for our breakfast feast. In addition, they bought a medley of freshly grown fruit, from pineapple and mango (eaten with sweet sticky rice and coconut milk) to dragon fruit and rambutan. Some of us were also adventurous enough to try durian, the king of fruits and, pound for pound, the most expensive in the world.
The early part of the morning was then spent in three groups, preparing an English lesson for our primary visit. There was a common theme to the initial planning. “They don’t know English, we don’t know Thai. How do we explain ‘Simon says’?” An hour later we had an hour of fun in store for our first work with the local community.
There will be few greater highlights of our expedition than our students teaching English through games and song. They showed enthusiasm, energy and humour as they taught numbers, body parts and animal names. Our arrival had been welcomed by a gift of roses, a tour of the school and a musical performance. The local staff were as keen as the students to interact with us and at the end of our visit we all joined together in Thai games and dance. The donation of books we made to their library was fruit of our fundraising over the past 18 months.
With the temperature in the mid-30s, we visited Bang Sai Art & Craft Centre where we spent the afternoon in the aquarium, the bird park and the beautiful gardens. Some students enjoyed stroking the gorgeous Greater Hornbill, a bird so rare they are unlikely ever to have that opportunity again.
We finished the afternoon with another swim in the river and a singing game, before the evening routines and the continuation of our journey towards the night’s mooring point by Wat Niwet (Niwet Temple). The confusion brought on by jet lag led me to believe in yesterday’s post that we were to have three nights on the barge but I stand corrected. Tonight is our second and last night on this magnificent vessel.
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