By Simone Kaho
The volunteering is flexible, you can do what you want for as long as you want although there’s a suggested programme. There are the sustainable multi-tiered gardens run by a strong kindly woman
called Pe Song. The horticulture inclined would find much to do and learn there. And then there is the school which is a treasure box of hope and emotion.
The two girls I’m volunteering with are made of sterner stuff than me. Izzy is a tall slender medical student from London, equally nubile Anna has just finished her yoga teacher training certification in Nepal. Granted they are much younger, 18 and 14 years respectively, but they march through the volunteering a singular commitment. I find my way out of the hard work by offering to create blogs instead. On the day Izzy is sick with a nose-blowy flu thing she soldiers on through both sessions of yoga and a full day with the village students. Though she goes to bed at 8pm that night after not having found anyone to carry her down the stairs. Soldier girl.
The official schedule runs that volunteering activities go from 9:30, after breakfast, until lunch at 12:30 - so that’s roughly three hours. It’s flexible though, on the first few days we stop at 11ish.
Day one is the hardest for me, we’re carrying horse manure to the gardens and digging it through two empty plots, then covering it with a red powder. I don’t ask what it is for fear it’s blood and bone. I’m eager to show my hard-working farmer potential when I remember my back issues.
It’s not the wisest idea to be lifting and carrying heavy bags and ho’ing. Ingrid has told us it’s up to us how long we work for and what we do - ‘It’s your gift to us’ she says. So I know I can stop. But I carry on stubbornly and so do the girls, with growing admiration for the sturdy and huggable Pe Son as she wheels up smiling to bring us more manure bags.
After an hour and a half of this, we’ve run out of manure. Next job it to remove some tyres from around young plants out front, and then Pe Son releases us. We plod off in our red clay covered clothes to the river and wade in. The cool rush is tickling and refreshing, too strong to swim against so we sink into it in our clothes and look into the jungle. Congratulating ourselves for having chosen Eco Logic and feeling a touch worthy. ‘We are just so lucky’ says Izzy. That afternoon we all go for serious naps.
The next day when we go to the market, the tires we removed have been replaced with fresh ones tires, cut to flower out, unrecognizable pretty, marking diagonal car park spaces.
More information on Eco-Logic, Retreat for Charity and the yoga arrangement we offer can be found here.
With your stay you will support the projects of the Thai Child Development Foundation directly.
DO GOOD, FEEL GOOD!