It’s been over a decade since I’ve received a love letter folded into a heart and I must say, the butterfly feeling is just as I remembered it.
This past semester I took a course titled “Multidisciplinary Rural Development” and at the end of our course we were assigned a field study which took place in Wang Pae Village, Saraburi; just a couple hours north of Bangkok but a lot less developed. We had the opportunity to stay in the homes of local villagers for 4 days through the duration of our project. We were given a snapshot of some issues within the village and asked to conduct research and present our recommendations as to how they can potentially approach some of the issues they are currently facing.
Wang Pae is a relatively small village with approximately 200 households and heaps of issues ranging from diabetes, low social participation, out-migration, lack of leadership, teen pregnancy, lack of opportunity for supplementary income generating and growing crime rates.
I won’t go much into the details of our project but I’d like to share some of my thoughts on this experience.
During my brief time there I was so humbled by the simplicity of their lives. Throughout my travels thus far I already knew how much I enjoyed this feeling but it was on a different level this time. What I enjoyed most was the chance to be immersed into their village for a few days, interacting with the people on a personal level and reconfirming what I already knew; that sympathy is not what these people need nor want. If I must compare their lives to the lives I am well accustomed to in the western world, these people are genuinely happier and just need the chance to create a dignified/fulfilling life. Their expectations are usually reasonable in comparison to what the average western considers a “fulfilling” life. They are rich with people power, natural resources, determination and lots of love! All they need are minds with ideas and compassionate hearts to share with them to give them some skills, spark their creativity and empower them.
This is where I am stuck at the moment; I have a mind for business (kinda) and a heart for people. So, I’m currently exploring how to best combine the two which has led me to my next transition here in Bangkok. I am now interning at Human Development Forum Foundation where I will have the opportunity learn about the non profit sector and hopefully, what it takes to make a change in a developing community.
Continuing with my Wang Pae Village experience. Let’s just say it was an unforgettable one and here are just a few reasons why….
Working with others who share similar interests. Meet Mai 🙂
Surrounded by uplifting spirits and silliness. Can’t think of better time spent…
My new friends riding by asking my professor if I can come out to play. hahaha, it’s also been a while since this has happened and again the excitement was just as I remembered! These are also the creators of the thoughtful love letters!
Picking jasmine flowers in between surveying.
Waking up to this.
The beautiful children showing me a good time.
Was a memorable experience that I hope to have more of 😉