This has been a great week so far. Here are a few of the highlights… (Warning: lots of info in a random order… !)
1. I finished language class yesterday morning and am really happy with the amount of Thai I’ve learned so far! I know enough to be “basic conversational”, I’d say. Perhaps “selectively conversational” is better – as long as we’re on the topics I have vocab for, we’re fine! 😛 More importantly, I have enough Thai to actually learn more, if that makes any sense – I can ask in Thai how to say something, or explain something. I can also make decent sense of simple conversations and recognize individual words in the middle of long dialogue (such as a prayer or sermon, for example).
2. Monday morning, I missed language and went with Sandra to the airport to pick up a new NightLight volunteer. She’s going to be doing a children’s program with the kids in the NightLight daycare program (the kids are all under five, I think, and there are somewhere between five and ten of them).
3. Today, after work and before outreach, I went to a little hair salon by NightLight and got my hair trimmed and – I got tinsel tied in!!! I’ve never seen it done before in Canada, but here, they will tie strands of tinsel in your hair. It looks so pretty – I’ve wanted to do it since I got here. I got 15 gold strands. They can stay in over a month, with brushing, washing, etc., but it really depends on how strong your hair is. I’m just trying it out now, so I’ll let you know how long it lasts! I had one strand come out tonight, but the rest of them seem quite stuck, which is good. I took a picture, but of course it’s only a few strands of tinsel and while it shows up well in person, it’s almost unnoticeable in a picture. I’m going to do it again the day before I leave to come home, so I can show you then!
4. I went to Toys R Us at lunch today and found the game Guess Who for my ESL class this week – what a fun way to practice asking questions!
5. I am SO excited that this week I get to start a baking class with some of the girls at NightLight! They don’t really do much baking here, and sweet desserts like ours are not very common. So, 12 girls (two classes of six) have signed up to learn how to bake! This Thursday, we’ll make cookies and Friday we’ll make brownies, I think. The plan is that the girls will make enough to sell to the other girls and volunteers. We’ll meet after lunch and do the baking. While they’re in the oven, the girls can go back to work. When they are done, they’ll come back and we’ll get them ready to sell. I’ll also teach them how to figure out how much to charge in order to make a profit. If this goes over well, we may make it a regular (or semi-regular – we’ll see!) event! Tomorrow, I’ve got to go through the kitchen and see what we have and what we need.
6. Sunday afternoon, my neighbour, her guest and I all went to a Thai cooking school. I had a BLAST! We made some great recipes and it was so much fun. We learned a lot of new things, too, about unique Thai ingredients, etc. I’d go back to do another course in a heartbeat!
7. I have so much on my mind these days!!!
Now, for the outreach-related points…
8. This week, one of the girls I knew at NightLight left to go back to the bars. For her, it’s an issue of sexual addiction (to put it simply). Please pray for her…
9. We found out today that the girl we talked with last time (my first talk with a girl during outreach ever!) is actually starting at NightLight tomorrow!!! Often times, girls will promise to call but they don’t. However, this girl really did call and come in for an interview and is starting work with us! I’m absolutely thrilled and can’t wait to get to NightLight tomorrow to find her and say hi!
10. I went on outreach this evening. The first thing we did was go say hi to a girl they’ve known for years. I met her the other night I was there. She is SO smiley and outgoing – very friendly! She says she likes her work there, but she did open up to Sandra once and said she has only “seven more years of unhappiness” – that is the time it will take her daughter to finish high school and university. That is a common thread amongst the stories I’ve heard – in addition to needing money to send home, the girls also want so much more for their children than the type of life they are leading and so want them to get higher education – which takes money.
11. Next, we went to find a ladyboy that one of our party (there were four of us in our group tonight) had been building a relationship with. I met both her and another ladyboy there. I decided that I had had my evening of introduction to the environment last time, and that tonight – fully armed with a better picture of what it would be like and a much broader Thai vocabulary than before – I would step out and engage with the people I met whenever possible (that is, after all, the reason we are there…). And that is how I came to not even bat an eye while introducing myself to a ladyboy in front of an all ladyboy bar on the third floor of the Nana Entertainment District of Bangkok.
12. We then took a seat at a bar and settled in to wait for a girl to talk to. At first, I thought we weren’t going to get to talk to anyone because those who weren’t dancing were quite decidedly avoiding us – all crowded in the corners and on the opposite side of the room. So, I picked a girl who just really stood out to me and prayed for her for quite awhile. It turned out that when she was done dancing, she went over to talk to two of our group (our group of four sat in two pairs – I was with Sandra, of course). I was SO glad and I’m looking forward to finding out how their conversation went tomorrow.
13. We found one girl who smiled at us, so we went over to talk to her. I caught some of what she said, and Sandra translated the rest. I don’t remember too much about her specifically, though. She said she didn’t like working there, but she also didn’t seem too interested when we brought up NightLight.
14. Later, we started talking to two girls who were sitting together. One of them came closer to me (it is SOOOOOO loud in there!) and I was able to have a whole conversation with her – all by myself! I was SO GLAD to have this opportunity. This girl was from Issan and had a three year old son who lived with her parents there. She said she liked her job there (unlikely, but possible, I suppose…) and had been there I think about four months. Sandra had a good conversation with the other girl, too. I am excited to continue praying for these girls because you never know what may happen! Maybe someday these girls will be working at NightLight, too!
15. I’ve got more to say, but it is WAY WAY WAY too late right now! It’s almost 12:30! I’ve got to pack up and go to bed because tomorrow is coming soon!!!
Have a great night!