Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ko Lao and Ko Chang

The past week has been very fun, but also very hard. Ko Lao is very literally a slum island. The people were very nice, but unfortunately they only spoke Moken, so communicating was very hard. We were there to begin building a community center. We got the foundatuion down, so the next Youth International group to go can actually finnish it, but the foundation is the hardest part to do. The only peice of land left to build on was this marshy, low-land area behind the village. It was half mud, half sewage and water was continually seeping in. Basically it was the most disgusting thing i've ever done. We had to dig 12 holes, fill them with cement, lay the tall cement pillar(its an above ground building), and then fill it back in with cement. In theory its not too hard, but walking around was impossible because the mud would suck ur boot down and then three people had to get you unstuck.
Besides being gross, the community was nice enough. The kids were great. They loved playing with us and they tried repeating everything we said to them. The worst parts were the way they treated the straY dogs and that the kids never wore shoes. There were a surprsing number of strays for it being an island. There were at least two litters of puppies while we were there and we adopted two of the puppies. One, we named King because he is cock-eyed like the Thai king, we discovered when the kids were using him as a soccer ball. I, obviously, ran over and quickly stopped that and from then on we tried to teach the kids by example to be nice to animals. We actually think that we made a pretty big impression on them. By the time we left they never put King down and he was constantly being passed around and pet.
The island was extremely dirty and the sea around it was filled with trash, but the food was great.
After being there for about five day we went to Ko Chang for our "vacation." It was great. The island was completely desserted and we had bungalows right oni the beach. The water was the perfect temperature and crystal clear. Even though I used up an entire bottle of sunscreen I still got seriously burned. The second day we were there I woke up and my lips were so swollen it looked like I had gotten collagen injections during the night. Apparently thats how my lips react when they're sunburned, but they got back to normal pretty quuickly. I also found a coral reef and two local girls showed me around and let me help them catch a crab, found me sea shells, and showed my sea urchins and things to poke with my stick.
It was sad leaving there, but I was so burned that I was actually releaved to get back to civilazation. We spent one last day in Bangkok before leaving. This time we were in modern Bangkok, which was completelty opposite of where we were in the beginning. It was a lot of fun, but exhausting. Right now I'm actually in India! We havn't really done much yet, but I'm already falling in love.

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