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Community Service!

In January, AFS organized a project for us in the Bangkok area, but do to a sudden possibility of a terrorist threat, our project was postponed for another month.  Note:  There actually wasn’t an attack after all, that month.  A man with Sweedish and Lebanese citizenship had been caught with supplies to make bombs. He was detained. Authorities thought this could have provoked attacks and so Embassies including The United States sent out an alert.

On Tuesday, there was a series of bombings at Soi Sukomvit 71 labeled acts of terrorism. Three bombs went off inside a rented home. Two people escaped immediately afterwards, and escaped by taxi. Five minutes later a man ran out after another explosion. He through a bomb at a passing taxi after it failed to stop for him.  While he was running away, he noticed an approaching police vehicle.  He attempted to through a bomb at it, but the bomb bounced off of a passing truck and landed right next to the man, where it exploded.  The man received serious injuries to his legs one of which was dis-attached completely, while the other was severed but still barely connected. The other two have been caught. The man had to be under intensive hospital care. There was another woman who was suspected to take a part in this, but I’m unsure to if she was found guiltyor even caught.

Despite this “attack” we had our first community service project together, from Thursday to Sunday.   All six of us met up at the AFS office in Nontaburi Thursday morning. In the afternoon we made notebooks out of recycled paper for the less fortunate provincial children.  I had a lot of fun with this, and we all enjoyed decorating the covers.  We made over 100 notebooks in total!

That evening we checked into the same hotel as the last camp, so I felt very much at home.  We traded stories about our experiences this year.  Everyone has had their own unique opportunities! We also were happy to be joined by P’Naim and P’Roh, AFS-YES volunteers.

On Friday, we got an early start helping out at the Rangsit home for babies, in Pathumtani. We redesigned a garden that had been destroyed by the flood. We were lucky it was a cloudy day, because we worked long hours outside.   Some of our responsibilities were moving heavy animal statues off of the red ant contaminated mud-field which was once a lawn, taking rakes and attempting to smooth out the mud as much as possible while at the same time avoiding the red ants, placing fresh grass squares over the mostly smooth mud (including a slope near some bushes where the red ant base camp was), and moving the heavy animal statues back on the grass.  The end result was a spiffy new garden, with green grass covering the fiercest red ant colony I ever stumbled upon, complimented by groady over-weight animal statues sitting strategically on the edge of the lawn; on the other hand there were 6 muddy exchange students and four Thai returnees, sitting on picnic tables comparing ant bites.  Seriously though, these ants were killer and abnormally big too, might I add!

We went out for lunch, after washing our feet and hands. We had some noodles on a large wooden boat-restaurant. Pathumtani is known for its “Gwai diao”, specialty noodles. We also got to sample some kanom made from coconut and egg.  A highlight was discovering a box of week-old puppies!

We returned to the Rangsit home for babies, to continue some more gardening.  This time we just rearranged little gardens in front of a few buildings like adding new stones and brick borders. We also potted sapling trees, and placed them around the property.

Sunday was evaluation, we also brainstormed future projects. We hope to do something in the South, maybe in Phuket by the sea.  Later we went to จตุจาก “Chutduchak” weekend market. We met up with P’Nut another AFS-YES volunteer. As we were walking around I happened to see Cinthia from Bolivia! She was going to fly out later that week and was doing some last minute shopping.

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