Since our arrival in Bangkok I have been looking for a place to volunteer. There are a lot of places needing help however most of them only request money.
Some requesting volunteers asked me to fill out some long documents with the reason why I want to volunteer, describing my past experiences and giving detailed references where I already helped. I found this good. This gave the impression of seriousness. The only problem is that after having sent all information they answer they have anyway no place for volunteers…
Other places require volunteers to pay fees. Usually around 300 Euros to subscribe and then 50 to 75 euros every week. I find this amazing. One comes to help and he has to pay for this. They promise the money will be used for local people … due to my last 15 years of volunteering here and there (most of the time occasionally) by default I consider any charity organization non honest unless they proved me they are honest… for this reason I refused.
By chance there is one place where one can almost always volunteer: the Missionaries of Charity (Houses of Mother Teresa). They are located far away from Bangkok: in the North east of Thailand, close to the border of Laos. Having served in various houses, this is the only organization I fully trust without any doubt.
While searching for all these associations and waiting for answers we took the opportunity to visit the town where cheap places propose very interesting stuff: most of tourists are not coming there as one needs to take the bus. As tourists spend very few time in Bangkok (around 3 days in average) they usually do not come to the information.
Anyway for clothes one should have Thai size … it is mostly not European case … but it fits perfectly for Nino 🙂 There are as well places to buy very cheap electronic devices.
We also went to the hair cut. For a few euros they will be happy to cut hair. I found them talented. We did not miss Thai massage and feet massage. Both interesting but however somehow different to what we expect in Europe as they tend to use a lot of force in the massage they do. This reminds me somehow Tanzania where children were able to face a lot of beats without even showing any kind of pain. Maybe as in Tanzania, people can here face much more pain as we do and hence such massages would fit perfectly for them.
If I now had to compare my feelings between Dar es Salaam (my favorite place in Tanzania) and Bangkok, I would say here we do not feel this kind of being altogether as in Tanzania. In Africa if one takes the time to discover people he will discover the feeling of being in a big family. One simple example, from 35 to 40 years old, women will be called Mama and before Sister. This matches perfectly what one feels there. Another example, one woman comes in a bus with 3 small children, automatically 2 people will care of 2 of the children. This belongs to normal way of being …far away from all what I saw so far.
In Thailand people seem not to be so close to each other. It looks rather like in Europe. However, what is interesting is the concentration they use for any of their work and looks like not taking care at all how much it would be paid. This is mainly true for young people. Maybe it is the fact they are all attached doing their work perfectly that makes it possible for a poor country to be so clean, providing excellent food at extremely low rate. Tourists places are expensive to buy memories but going a bit further around, tourist area ends quickly, no more colors every where but real Bangkok starts with extremely polite people selling extremely cheap products.
Tomorrow (the 11th of October) we are getting up at 6AM to take the bus to the north east. We already reserved a room in Udon Thani. The village where the sisters are should be one hour drive form the city.