Saturday, August 20, 2011

How has life been since I left the Maldives?

Now that I'm in Thailand, helping Friends For Asia start a new program in Surat Thani.....I've been about as busy as:

"A cat on a hot tin roof!" 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Am I going crazy.... or just losing my mindfulness?

I did it again!  Today! 

I mixed my blogs.... not the worst thing in the world... but my Surat Thani stories were not meant to be part of my Maldives blog!

Time for me to refocus......

On living life as a human being....
rather than...

Living life as a human doing.

What's up with Surat Thani?

"Where is Surat Thani?"

This city of about 127,000 people is located south of Bangkok, close to the Gulf of Thailand.

Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, a highly respected  Buddhist monk lived in the Province of Surat Thani and established an international meditation center at Wat Suan Mukkh.  His most famous book is entitled The Handbook for Mankind, and can be downloaded from the internet.

The name Surat Thani, for many tourists, signifies the gateway to the islands. As such, most foreigners never even see the city of Surat Thani.  Instead, a port some 60  kilometers from Surat Thani city, takes tourists to the beautiful islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao.

A whole variety of ferry boats are available to take tourists to one of the three islands.  Within hours, they can be on a beach, enjoying their tropical holiday.

Koh Samui is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and blue waters.

Koh Tao is known for its marine life.

In addition to Koh Phangan having an international meditation center at Wat Kow Tahm, it is perhaps best known for its Full Moon Party!

Since I've never attended a Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan, I leave it to you to google web and google image search this crazy event!

Goodbye Chiang Mai and Hello Surat Thani

Goodbye Chiang Mai!  Loved my stay in the city, learned a lot about Friends For Asia, so now it is time to get down to the business of opening the new office in the south of Thailand!

Hello Surat Thani!  Now the Friends For Asia program development work can begin..... recruiting a project coordinator, finding an office, locating a possible volunteer house, meeting with potential partner organizations.....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Juggling too many blogs!

I think I'm now juggling too many blogs!  Hence.... my Maldives Adventure blog suddenly became my Surat Thani blog too.

Okay.... so a little bit of Thailand was added to the Maldives.... that sort of thing can happen.... just not too often let's hope!

Monday, July 4, 2011

First day of volunteering in Chiang Mai! Friends For Asia Group # 80.

The medical interns, all dressed up and ready to meet the doctors at the hospitals.

Over the weekend, the volunteers participated in a two day orientation.  Now it is time for all of them to be taken to their volunteer sites, introduced, and given their schedule.  I was able to accompany about half of the volunteers to their sites, while shadowing the Friends For Asia staff to experience the day-to-day operations of the organization.

Time to jump into the truck English teachers, and we'll be off to the temple schools.

Ready to begin teaching the monks!

First stop, the temple school where I volunteered last fall.  Three volunteers will be at this temple school for a month.

Next, to drop off one volunteer at a temple school, located right next to a very famous temple in Chiang Mai. 

Reviewing the all important..... volunteer teaching schedule!

As in all things, volunteering in Chiang Mai being no exception, there are a certain amount of formalities to be followed when first bringing new volunteers to a site. 

This public school will be hosting three volunteers for a month.

The volunteers are always eager to see their teaching schedule.

Our last stop was with the publishing intern, who will be working at a very well known magazine in Chiang Mai.

Creativity seemed to be flowing in every direction at this publishing company...... three publications per month.... lots of deadlines.... so lots of demands!

End of the day, the Friends For Asia staff touches bases with the volunteers to talk with them about their first day experiences.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Goodbye Maldives - Hello Thailand

A very fond farewell to all my e-friends who followed my tales while I was in the Maldives!  I had a fantastic stay while on the island of Holhudhoo.  One day..... I do indeed hope that I will be able to visit the Maldives again!

Now.... I am in Thailand working with Friends For Asia to help them expand their volunteer program from Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand, to Surat Thani in the south. This is a new, exciting challenge for me!

 You can follow my continued tales at....

Please stop by and visit!  I'd love to hear from you too!

Mr. T