The sun has already set on a holiday that no one in Thailand knows exists, but I wanted to put in my two cents and say that this Thanksgiving I am thankful for progress, perspective, and potential.
Progress – I’m not going to lie….the past month and especially the past week has not been great but it is only because I underestimated the progress I had already made with the orphanage and got the green light to begin tutoring in October (before I was personally prepared to do so). Day to day has been a real struggle but big picture I am still amazed and picturing the look of surprise on the Directors face when she said, “Actually can come every day because many student more want to study”
Perspective – As some of you know we had a birthday party last Friday. It was a slam dunk and I apologize that due to a hellacious venture into Malaysia I didn’t have time to write up the details, but towards the end of the day some Canadian volunteers were at school and Benz, the Belle of the Birthday Ball, was so shy she wouldn’t even say hello and whispered into my ear “Teacha I want to know their name”.
The volunteers said all the kids had been kind of shy and, encouraged by the fact that the kids were so visibly happy to see me, asked how often I visit. I said it was my third time there that day….we’re just big on exaggerated and affectionate greetings.
Had the volunteers not been there I don’t think I wold have taken even a moment to step back and think about how far we’ve come in the last year and how much love there is between us. A year ago at this same school, I met not one, but several girls who didn’t know their name because no one had ever asked.
It amuses the munchkins so much that I know their names, their class, their birthdays, and their personalities. They frequently try to trick me by switching papers or answering to a different name only to giggle at my disapproving look and say “she knows already”
Potential – The potential for what we can do here is life changing in the sense that I honestly believe Make Our Day will change the course one or more of these children’s lives, be it through higher education, adoption, or a self confidence that propels them to take control of their situation.
That being said, if I want them to reach their full potential, I cannot deceive myself in thinking that theirs is the same as my own. From the moment I was born I was loved, supported, educated, and cared for consistently. A couple days ago, if I wanted to throw in the towel in Malaysia, I could have.
But throwing in the towel for me means, I go home, I get a job, I get married….I have a comfortable (if not more than comfortable) life. I cannot lie to them and say they have the same choices. They don’t.
What I can do is understand each child in terms of their heart and their desire and make sure that a lack of encouragement or funding doesn’t keep them from realizing the potential they see for themselves.
The munchkins do not know what Thanksgiving is, but when I get to school at lunch tomorrow after a few too many hard days away, there will be no other word to describe the moment they scream and run into my arms other than….Thankful.
I am originally from Missouri and currently teach English, wrangle Munchkin's, and give hugs in Southeast Asia. I planned on doing the typical backpacker thing for a year or so and moving on.......but 6 years and hundreds of munchkins later, the ride's been anything but "typical". We're still here and still making munchkins' days one hug and high five at a time. Send us a note, some love, or a donation if you're able. Love from Munchkinland, Teacha Katie.
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