Over the last month our team has had the opportunity to participate in monk chat.  We try to go once or twice a week, sometimes talking to the same monks, and sometimes talking to new ones. Either way, we build friendships with them, talking about mutual interests, and they have the chance to practice speaking English.  Many of the monks at this Wat (temple) are between 19 and 25, and studying English at the Buddhist University there.  Through conversations with them, I’ve learned more about Buddhism and have had a few chances to talk about the bible and Christianity.  It’s a unique ministry that I’m enjoying more than I thought I would. 

Last Wednesday, one of the monks that a few of us have spoken with a few times, Olay, asked if we wanted to plant trees on Friday. He didn’t know many details, but the three of us (Juliette, Seraphina & I) were excited at the possibility, and told him we would let him know the next day if we’d go. We talked with our team, and decided to ask Olay for more information.  He said that this was their charity work supported by Monk Chat Club, and the Buddhist university. We were to meet at 6am, where we would bus to a village and plant trees.  Our team had mixed feelings about going, but in the end we decided to all go.  

Waking up early wasn’t anyone’s idea of fun, so the two hour bus ride gave us all a chance to sleep – or at least rest up for the day.  When we arrived we had the pleasure of using squatty potties (sarcasm) before planting tress for an hour or two.  We then had lunch of larp gai (I think) which consisted of minced chicken and liver, with vegetables and Thai basil, served over rice. Minus the liver it was a really good lunch.  

After lunch Olay told us that we had a little time before planting more trees, so half our team sat around and rested while the other half (Adriana, Juliette, Jade & Seraphina) decided to explore. We thought we were going to be divided in half, so when they weren’t around, we left to plant more trees thinking nothing of them not being around.  It turned out that we weren’t supposed to be split up and that they were actually missing…

Thankfully we didn’t realize this till the end, and at that point it was kind of funny.  Ask those four though, and they have a different perspective.  They were freaked out because there was no one around, and they didn’t know where we were.  This shows what communication is like when there is a language barrier involved…

All in all it was an enjoyable day of planting trees in the countryside of northern Thailand.



***This Monday we will be leaving to go to Mae Ai, a village in northern Thailand. We will be there for a week. Following that we will be having our mid-trip debrief for three days, so we will not have internet for a week and a half. 

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