This is my last week as a volunteer here in a small Bannonghoy School where I spent one month.
Today I asked the school principal to tell its students not buy me any gifts for 2 reasons.
First of all I have no space in my backpack and secondly, they are really simple people with very basic conditions of life, I passed through some students houses and few of them have electricity. I am really happy to have a shower in my bedroom with cold water, a shower here in some parts is a luxury.
What I wanted from them I already have, the way they treat and hug me, we play together and have a football game after class. It’s my gift and I’m happier when I realise that they are learning more each day and understanding what I`m trying to teach them. It`s priceless.
It has been raining a lot here the last few days and my home place is surrounded by water and the noises coming from the frogs, crickets and I don’t know what is much louder. The internet signal is weak, working in some positions but not in others. The protection net against mosquitos in my bed doesn’t protect from some of them and I have to use insect repellent to sleep. I am the only volunteer here in the school and I have lonely time quite often.
But there is always the next day and all the children greet me “Good morning teacher” with both hands together and close to their chin. The teachers are always smiling at me and the happiness of the day.
Today during my old students class, aged between 9 and 11 years old, I drew a globe on the board, well I tried to at least, then I showed them where Brazil is and where they are in comparison. In the middle of the globe I drew a heart and said that is how we will be connected. I showed them a video talking about the importance of smiling and tried to make them understand that this smile could open doors for us.
When we talk with someone smiling, that happiness comes back to us, and they can dream and be whatever they want to be.
There is one girl that likes to play guitar, I told her that she can do it, I said everyone can do everything, this is our world.
I was speaking fast in English and excited because talking about opportunities is my thing. Then I asked myself, do they understand what I am saying here?
So I asked if they get it but they were just looking at my face, no expressions, like I see or what is this guy talking about. I tried to ask in Thai language if they understood a little at least, “nyk nóy”, they laughed and didn’t say anything.
Suddenly one student stood up and called my attention, I turned to her and she said:
-I love you.
In that moment I understood.
Maybe they don’t get all the words, maybe it`s not easy to understand this crazy teacher drawing lots of things on the blackboard and pretend to sing with a computer cable dancing in front of the class, but they understood my eyes, my body expressions and mainly they understood my intention.
I looked at the board again to check the drawing that I made and instantly all the trips that I have done come to my mind. I would love to see those kids having the same opportunities but I have to be honest and I know they live in another reality. Most of them will stay here in this small province for their whole life.
I blame myself for showing them a little bit about the outside world. But despite simplicity, those children are smart.
At the end of the class I was embraced for a few students and I won some pieces of paper with drawings in pencil and I saw how they see me.
So, please, don`t buy me gifts, cause there`s no one present that can overcome the happiness of spending some time here.
Wattana Nakhon – Bannonghoy School Thailand.
Lost in 40’s