The following is an article I wrote describing a project I was involved in. I travelled to a remote hill tribe in Thailand to help the tribe build a workshop for the local school.
The Ban Mae Lid Project
36 students from the Regents School Pattaya accompanied by 4 teachers and 3 gap staff traveled to a remote hill tribe village in Mae Hong Son Province, called Ban Mae Lid, with the purpose to build a workshop for the local school. The funding, a sum of $4,500 for the project, came from the fund raising activities of the Regents School such as the Coin Challenge. The Regents Students, as always, generously contributed to the cause and the money was sent to the village in order for the villagers to buy the supplies required prior to the project.
The students arrived at the Ban Mae Lid village to a warm welcome and a thrashing in a football game by the Mae Lid students. The students and the teachers savored their rest, as the next few days would be hard work. For the next three days the students, along with the teachers and gap staff, with the sun bearing down on them, put their heart and soul into the building of the workshop. At times the student’s from the school came to rescue with offerings of help in building or just some nice ice-cold water. During the trip some of the Regents students also got the chance to teach some of the Ban Mae Lid students some English.
At the end of the three days of work the students had managed to build most of the building, which included laying sand and cement for the floor, putting up bricks for the walls and a start was made at laying the tiles for the roof.
On the night of the final day in the village, all the Regents and Ban Mae Lid students and teachers attended a farewell party. The party was full of performances from the Regents and from the Ban Mae Lid students. Some of the performances included break dancing, Thai dancing and singing. All the students from the local school had hand made wristbands and bead necklaces that they offered to the Regents students and teachers.
The final words are always the most difficult which the Regents students had to experience before leaving the next day. All the Regents students lined up in assembly when they shook hands with all the Mae Lid students and the local teachers and the headmaster. A few minutes later all the Regents students were on board buses and left for Chiang Mai.
Despite being cut off from technology and the other luxuries of life all the Regents students highly enjoyed themselves as they got to live with and relate for four days with a community that leads a very different life. As we left the village all of us left with a smile on our faces as we realized that despite having much less, the local people had in fact given us more than what we had given them.
This activity was a classic example of the Round Square activities that the Regents undertake, as it involved not only service but also other aspects of the Round Square IDEALS (Internationalism, Democracy, Environment, Adventure, Leadership, and Service), an experience never to be forgotten.