Stand Up Thailand – Update #4

Hello Friends and Family!

Please enjoy updates written by teens on our trip!

Day 9- The Farm
Today was our third day of community service with the long neck Karen tribe. We also split into three new groups in order to get new ideas for teaching and playing. After the very bumpy truck ride that we take everyday to the village, my group took the middle age kids to play games outside. We started with a fun game of blob tag then transferred over to a round of human knot; boys vs girls. A few more games later it was time to head to the mushroom farm. The farm, or Hut, is coming along pretty well now, we have the structure built and the land around it flattened. All we have left to do today is build the walls, shelves and roof. The older kids climbed up to build the roof. It was made from banana leaves tied together and dried. The shelves are bamboo poles cut in half and nailed together. For the education rotation, my group reviewed the cha cha slide that we taught yesterday and tested their math skills. In the afternoon, the younger and middle kids had free time, while the older kids finished the roof of the hut. The BBYO kids switched in and out helping nail, saw, machete and tie things for the hut. Towards the end of the day, it started pouring rain and a few of us started dancing in the rain and mud with the kids. Also, there was a pretty intense volleyball game, and the rest were finishing up the hut. The rain had no negative impact on the vibe, which was pretty awesome to witness. We were able to teach them new songs during this time as well; like the whip, Macarena and YMCA. In return, the children taught us some of the songs they know. This was by far my favorite experience in the village. Once we left, we went to a street market to buy shoes for the kids because even though they have shoes already, they are very worn out and half of them don’t even fit. I’m so excited to see the children’s faces when we give them the shoes! After the village, we had time to relax at the hotel before dinner and of course after dinner we found an ice cream stand. On the way back to the hotel, I was sitting in the back of the Apple van with Sophia, Remy, Liat and Aliza, when we loudly and obnoxiously started screaming/singing “Unwritten” on the top of our lungs and continued the jam sesh later that night in our hotel room.

Day 10 – The Best Day with a Happy Farewell
Today was the last day in the longneck tribe village. I woke up at 6:45am and threw some clothes on before I took my backpack and left the room. For breakfast I had the usual: two pieces of toast with fried egg stacked on top. I also had some watermelon on the side which was delicious as always. After breakfast, we hopped into the vans and headed towards the village. As we got close, however, we had to switch into pickup trucks to handle the off roading. After we entered the village, we were once again greeted by friendly, smiling faces. As we got started with our work rotations, one of the teens by the name of Jare came up to me and gave me a gift for the third day in a row. It was small, but you could tell that the clear ball he handed to me meant a lot to him. After lunch we formed a long chain and started to load the mushroom bags into the hut. Even with 25 teens, 3 staff, 40 kids and 10 teachers, it took us almost an hour to pass all of the mushroom through the line and place them into the hut. We then gave all the kids the shoes we bought for them. They were all so happy and excited to take pictures with us. We gave a last farewell and hopped into the trucks one last time. Dinner tonight was at Kit’s mom’s hostel. We had some authentic yummy Thai food and then played name games with all of the students at the hostel. The pastor was incredibly funny and made us all laugh. Not long after, the day was over and another was soon to begin.

Day 11 – Taking the Curvy Route to Pai
I woke up later than planned this morning because I was so exhausted from staying up until 1 AM the night before. After breakfast and only one cup of coffee this morning we gathered in the lobby and then piled into the van ready for our trip to Pai. Our first destination was the temple on top of the mountain. It was surprisingly hard considering how high up we were, but there was a scenic view of all of Mae Hong Son. We got to explore the area at that and take pictures. There was a stone elephant and another Buddha statue. Some of us got to take pictures with the stone elephant, while others took pictures with the Buddah. While in the car, I was able to entertain myself with some YouTube videos I downloaded. The next stop was to the Longest Bamboo bridge in Thailand. The bridge spanned all the way across a huge expanse of rice paddies. Also the structures all around the rice and the mountains in the distance were very picturesque. Then we went to a village that Kit grew up in. He said to imagine the village we helped out in 20 years, but it was completely different. We had an unexpected tea tasting first, and I spent $20 USD on tea for my grandmother and I. Then we walked up the side of a mountain and saw another picturesque view of Kit’s childhood village. We could see Burma off in the distance. Then we had lunch at a restaurant with noodles that you can stick vegetables into and was heated up with coals. After lunch, we went on a longer car ride before stopping so that everyone could use the bathroom. We then arrived at our room. Even though we’re at the “Pai Treehouse Resort,” we’re not staying in actual treehouse. For Shabbat we held a short prayer service and then had dinner before having free time until 11pm. I got to explore the property, which was quite beautiful. It was a quite relaxing and picturesque day overall.

Day 12- Shabbas in Pai
We started off the day by sleeping in. At around 9:30 we all had breakfast. Then we had a small service which consisted of games to highlight the similarities we share as a group. After that we did an activity that shared our Jewish identities in mini-groups. It started a discussion about what we really think are important components to being a Jew. Next we had down time before lunch which was a good tofu noodle soup bowl. It started pouring during lunch but it passed quickly. Once we finished we took a short walk to the hot springs to continue our relaxing Shabbat. Leading up to dinner we had a Havadala service in a tall structure that had a great mountain view. Finally we had dinner in the night market. It was full of good food and cute souvenirs. All in all, we had a very relaxing and reflective Shabbat.
Erev tov

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