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After flying to Phuket in Thailand our very own BUNACer Becca landed ready to have the time of her life volunteering in Thailand! Kick starting her adventure in Ban Nam Khem on the east coast, she had the chance to settle, acclimatise and get used to her new surroundings in paradise. Find out more on this amazing experience below and become inspired to start your volunteer Thailand experience today!
After the Tsunami in 2001, Ban Nam Khem still has old ships washed up hundreds of meters off the coastline and all sorts of recent history to learn about, which made for an eye opening location to set up base! The atmosphere at the volunteer base was lively and welcoming. All of the staff and volunteers mingle and get involved in the running of the household. As well as having end-of-day catch ups with the teams and what they achieved they weren’t afraid to let loose and have ‘family night’ with a game of Pictionary or a communal viewing of the newest Game of Throne episode.
I got up early in the morning and headed to the nearby turtle sanctuary near Khao Lak. Here the volunteers, myself and Ben cleaned out the tanks and then cleaned the baby turtles with toothbrushes; they were incredibly cute but very squirmy! Ben explained that turtles take 30 years to reach maturity and the sanctuary were making sure the turtles were kept as healthy as possible so they would have the best chance of survival when they're released back into the wild. I got to see some of the ones who were only 15 days old and you could fit 2 in your palm, in comparison to the one near to maturity which we couldn’t even lift out of their tanks!
The afternoon I spent observing a lesson at the Community Development Centre which the Phang Nga volunteers have helped fund over the years and teach English there too. They had a sports day in the afternoon which was fun and we played Frisbee, duck/duck/goose and football with all of the kids which they loved! The children were very lively so the volunteers had to make sure there were plenty of activities to keep them engaged… What’s great about this part is as volunteers we make it possible for them to get an education and free medical care which is essential to these children.
The orphanage was impressively plush, the building was massive with an outdoor playground, a covered sports area, classrooms for the volunteers to teach in and bedrooms to accommodate the children. The kids there were amazing; so happy and playful and all vying for the attention of the volunteers!
One of the main aspects of the trip which I will take away with me is how passionate the staff are about conserving and bettering the village; all of their efforts are centred on helping the community and creating a better life for the people and the wildlife. This is an experience I will never forget!