A day in the life of Dave, one of our volunteers

Waking up to the sound of very loud cockerels, I’d make my way downstairs for some breakfast – usually rice-based – and gather my thoughts for the day. On the short walk to the school I’d practice my “Sawadee khrap” [hello] on any passing locals, and wave to all the kids shouting my name from down the road.
The first school activities for the day were always assembly, the national anthem, whole school choreographed exercises and a new English word for the day, presented by two of the students.

Following this I’d be in to the classroom and trying to settle the students, or in some cases gee them up (mostly on Wednesdays). There’d be some simple conversation classes, based on everyday situations you’d find yourself in in any country. There was always a fine balance between maintaining interest and preventing widespread chaos or apathy!

Lunch was taken with the students, letting me try out my Thai, their English and everyone’s ability to understand each other! Lunch also let me test my resistance to chillies, which came on in leaps and bounds during my time in Tha Bom.

Afternoons would see more lessons and some time to create new lessons and ideas; on occasion – and when the satellite link would allow – I’d check my emails and let home know how I was getting on. Often I’d join in with football or seba takraw games. The students delighted in watching me trying to come to terms with seba takraw. I’d like to think I made a decent stab at it for an unsupple farang [foreigner].

At school end the students would file out to their waiting buses and songthaews to make their way home. Foodstalls would set up outside the school selling ice cream, noodles, iced drinks and various bits of meat on a stick. I’d wade my way through the sea of students – the nearby primary school ended at the same time. The primary kids viewed me as a novelty, but lots of big smiles and waves and “SHAKE HAND, SHAKE HAND!” came my way.

In the evenings, I’d try my skills at futsal with the local farm lads. Playing with a speed and ferocity I haven’t encountered anywhere else, I was largely a passenger in most teams, but they had a good laugh at my expense. Playing ’skins’ always resulted in roars of laughter.

At about 6.30 the sun would disappear and night would fall. The village shops would shut up by 8pm and the locals went to sleep. I’d go back to my room, take a shower and read a book.

Looking back, it was quite an idyllic, bucolic life. Maybe one day I’ll be back…