Exactly one week prior to the publishing of this entry, Sunday, November 2nd, 2008, the Siamerican Wanderer had departed Bangkok to settle at Muak-lek Paradise Resort in Saraburi province, central Thailand for a five night, five day draining yet fulfilling outing; the long hot days and cool short nights in the wooded foothills nearing Kao Yai National Park proved to produce an abundance of excitement, suspense, enjoyment, frustration, laughter, synergy and memories.
Accompanying an 18-strong Thai-International team of directors, coordinators, emcees, and group leaders representing The Sandbox Co., Ltd., the SW gladly joined heads, hands and hearts with an interesting concoction blending nine nations–USA, England, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, and Thailand, respectively.
With the English language and Teamwork as the central products and focus, the faculty–representing eclectic backgrounds–was to effectively and joyfully partake and execute a beneficial and memorable developmental experience for 210 Matoyom 2 (8th grade) and Matayom 5 (11th grade) co-ed students, and half a dozen of their teachers from Surawittayakarn Secondary School of Surin city, Northeastern (Isarn) Thailand.
Among the staff’s exterior were three Americans, Two Englishmen, an Aussie, Canadian, Dane, Swede, and a Polk—acquainted, led and guided by an eight member Thai skeleton to form a structured yet joyous Edutaining operation.
Days starting bright and early with a typical 7 am breakfast, official ceremonies concluded by 11pm each night. In between the waking and waning hours, the resort’s seminar and meeting rooms, as well as the dining hall, swimming pool and surrounding leisure yards hosted aesthetic and expressive-filled team and group activities, games. songs, acting, role-playing, and most importantly—growth and learning.
To promote the focus themes of confidence, courage, and teamwork, a token system was implemented, encouraging students not only to make extra efforts in using and speaking English as the central channel of communication, but also to build team unity and effort on the competitive plane, harnessing ten teams of 21 students, led by one of the English speaking foreign national team leaders.
Each team, represented by colors e.g. Pink, Violet, Orange, Yellow, Green, Old Rose, Sky Blue, Navy Blue, Red, and Brown, would pool and expand their English language base to harness creativity, style, humor, and imagination in a broad scope of acting, theatre, marketing, dancing, and many other fruitful communication activities that painted color in the first week of November.
Aside from the wholesome buffet meals and swimming, other leisure fillers included rafting, ATV, climbing and abseiling (repelling) on the first day as well as a Celebs Wannabe Oscar style night talent show and post-dance party midweek, team performances and a fancy masquerade event and competition on the final night. …it’s amazing how fast time flies by when fruitful seeds germinate.
By Friday, 2pm, after a tear-tickling closing ceremony, highlighted by awards ceremony, slide show and an in-sync chorus of the students wishing a sincere farewell to the camp leaders and icons, a final lunch followed by pictures ensued, before the busses were finally loaded and departed for a 5 hour bus journey back to Surin.
The remaining staff did their final packing and were soon on route back to the bustling Thai capital, arriving just at the peak of rush-hour—always a startling contrast when coming from upcountry.
Now the SW finds himself back to the ordinary, dreaded yet challenging juggle of personal, professional and academic obligations on the East side of Bangkok, soaking in the empowering previous days and nights, anticipating the new suns and moons that will shine overhead in the coming months and year of uncertain paths and their respective branches.
Finally finding a few hours of solo-time for reflection in the apartment, Sunday night, the rain clouds decreased presence have have seemed to scurry scattered, fading into hindsight with the trick of time transforming future–soon to welcome Southeast Asia’s cool season, just on the verge for Thailand’s second most major festival-ceremony–holi-night, Loy Kratong, when couples, families, and friends of the Thai masses make offerings to the water spirits under the full moon of the twelfth lunar month, this Wednesday, November 12.
A link to last year’s Loy Kratong experience with the Siamerican Wanderer …stay tuned…