All posts by peteringle

I am a Professor of Special Education at Westminster College in Salt Lake City,Utah. I am currently the Director of the Learning Coalition for the college. I am fascinated by lots of things.

Health clinics at Ban Toong Ting School

By: Nicole Roberts & James Bacigalupo

Along with the service projects at the Ban Toong Ting school, we were also able to help aid the Thai Nursing students with health checks. Health checks are extremely important, especially when done on the children of an area because they can tell a lot about the overall health of the community. Two of the most important areas of health to check are height and weight. Abnormal height or weight for a child can determine a great majority of health issues in a community. While helping the nursing students, we assisted in taking the height and weight of every student at the school. We then proceeded to check the body for scrapes or abrasions, or anything abnormal with physical features. Next, we would asses any of the scrapes or abnormal physical features and clean them up. Continue reading Health clinics at Ban Toong Ting School

Ban Toong Ting School

By: Rachel Wong and Liz Behrens

Upon arrival at the Ban Toong Ting school, the group had been briefed about the possible conditions of the school and surrounding village. We were prepared for anything! However, after a bumpy ride in the back of a pickup truck through the lush green mountains, we stumbled upon our home for the next five days, and we were shocked.  Not only was the school absolutely beautiful, being isolated on the top of a mountain, the conditions were far better than initially anticipated.  We were warmly welcomed by the students and teachers. Continue reading Ban Toong Ting School

Temple visits

By: Karsten Gillwald & Melody Van De Graff

Thais perform Buddhist worship at various holy sites throughout the country. We visited several of these sites ranging from traditional “wats” to simple worship sites.  A wat is a monastery or temple in Southeast Asia. All temples have a representation of the Thai Buddha in one of the seven positions (?), an open area in front of the Buddha for worship, offerings to the Buddha and some other form of decoration. Some temples had little more than this, while others were incredibly ornate and complex. Continue reading Temple visits

Abstract concrete

By Toby Koch

Finally. I was there. After months of anticipation and weeks of traveling I was where I wanted to be; at the Ban Mae Tuen village. I had imagined my time here would be spent searching for water sources that could only be reached by bushwhacking through jungles that Bear Grylls himself would shiver at, drawing out architecturally flawless blueprints for future projects, and conducting in depth community based health assessments with advanced techniques unknown to the common man.

Okay, maybe not quite that drastic, but a man’s mind can be prone to wander. Instead, I found myself hacking away in fascination (and no small amount of frustration) at a giant puddle of gelatinous cement soup, trying to keep it in some kind of pile, accompanied by a few members of our group and an entourage of Thai men hacking away along side me. I, being the all-knowing American, thought to myself, “this is ridiculous, there are ratios and procedures and other fancy stuff that needs to be followed in order to make cement set properly. This pile is random, there are still clumps of dirt in this cement and every bucket of it that we pour unto this porch is different.”

As we continued to add a few more rocks here, some sand there, and buckets of water everywhere; I had an epiphany. “Building this porch doesn’t mean diddly squat. In the end, its just a porch to a cafeteria. It will more than likely hold just fine.We didn’t fly half way around the world to build a porch. We came to build relationships with this village and this school. To show them that we care about the world and the people in it, and that their culture, class and ethnicity shouldn’t be seen as a hindrance, but an opportunity to expand the way we see the world. We are here to show that we don’t know best, that we are equals and that they have as much to give us as we them (if not more).”

I couldn’t help but laugh. Despite my past service experience around the world, I still knew nothing. Perhaps I never will know, but suddenly that pile of gelatinous cement soup suddenly meant a lot more.

First Days in Bangkok

by: Elise Reckinger

We have spent the last three days in Bangkok.  The first day we explored the mall next to the hotel. The mall had seven stories with a food market and numerous boutiques and even a water park. Bangkok is a very busy city. Everywhere there are many people moving and the streets are full of people. Everybody seems like they are on a “mission.” The  mall is crowded and the streets by the hotel are filled with markets that sell food and clothes. The prices at the mall are relatively cheap: 30baht is 1 dollar. It was been hard communicating with the Thailand people but we have learned to say:

Thank you, or Khoop-khun and hello, sa-wat-dii.

The next day we visited Wat Po and the Grand Palace. First, we visited Wat Po. Wat Po is known for their reclining Buddha. The reclining Buddha is 46m long and 15m high. It illustrates the passing of Buddha to Nirvana. On the feet of the Buddha there are mother of pearl inlay ornaments on the feet, displaying 108 different characteristics of Buddha. In the Thai culture, the feet are considered the dirtiest part of the body while the head is considered sacred. While in the temple we had to sit with our toes tucked away from the Buddha statue otherwise it would be disrespectful. We also had to wear clothes that went below our knees , no hats, no shoes and out shoulders had to be covered. After we explored the Buddhist temple, we took the took tooks to the grand palace. The took tooks are like a Taxi for going short distances. The outside is very decorated with bright colors. While on the took took ride we noticed a few things about Thailand driving culture. The roads are packed with cars and chaos. Everyone is tailgating which is normal here. Nobody honks and everyone is aggressive drivers and there are narrow lanes. We rode the took took to Grand Palace on Coronation day which is a Thailand  international holiday.  In Thailand the country is ruled by a king and queen and the current king is King Rama IX.

On the last day in Bangkok we met the Thai students that we will be traveling with for the rest of the month.  We spent the morning playing funny games that helped us learn the students names and majors. The majority of students are nursing majors and one woman we will be with is a nursing professor. By the end of the morning we already shared plenty of laughs and began learning names.

What We Don’t Talk About When We Don’t Talk About Service

Before we leave we want you to read two articles.

What we don’t talk about when we don’t talk about service by Adam Davis provides some good questions to ask yourself about why you do service and what you get out of it. Throughout the experience we will be questioning who is benefiting? And how are they benefiting? It will be important that we ask ourselves this in a variety of places, with different people, and with different types of service. You will be writing in your journal about this and we will have at least one group discussion on this topic.

Adam Davis essay

4 Traditions of Philanthropy

This reading by Elizabeth Lynn and Susan Wisely offers a broad theoretical framework for considering service. Service can benefit a person or community in a variety of ways. Some are more sustainable than others. This reading enables us to identify the type of work being done and provides some indications about ways to move forward. We will be writing about this in our journals and discussing it at each service site.

4 Traditions of Philanthropy

Lost in Translation

By Kirstie Savage and Lisa Swift

_____________________________________________________

“Honestly is the best policy”

“What you do that for”

“Thank you for Westminster student and Professor”

“Open the light”

“Are you delicious?”

“Shop for goal”

“Safety Food”

“Life and Learn”

“This girl rock!”

 

During this trip we have encountered several “lost in Translation” moments with the Thai people. Given the extreme differences between the Thai and English language it only makes sense that this would occur.  The slightly butchered phrases listed above are only a few of many that we have had the pleasure of hearing or seeing over the course of this trip.  This has allowed for some additional humor that has contributed to the overall trip experience.  For the sake of fairness it must also be noted that the reverse holds true in the sense that we also butcher phrases when we attempt to speak Thai.  One day I was going through a Thai and English translation book with my mom.  She would read it to me in Thai and I would repeat.  As we went through phrases my dad, close by was cracking up with laughter, which made me laugh.  Overall, this was a fun bonding moment as the humor of my inability to speak Thai brought us closer.

Another fun experience that we had resulted in certain language barriers, or the inability of the Thai people to annunciate certain sounds.  One morning Bright asked a small group of us about the difference between bitch and beach.  However, when she said “beach” and “bitch” both words sounded the exact same.  We had a hilarious time going over the pronunciation differences and definitions of bitch and beach with Bright. We hope that Bright now understands the key differences between “bitch” and “beach” .

Mae Tao Clinic

By: Sarah Schafer and Teal Gibo

Today we visited the Mae Tao Clinic. This clinic serves Burmese refugees and the occasional Thai because the refugees are unable to receive care elsewhere.

Some statistics are:

    • 300-400 patients are seen daily
    • They fit around 250 prosthetics yearly
    • About 15 babies are delivered daily

The clinic offered many different services for the patients. Some of these include: eye care, dental care, labor and delivery, basic surgeries, injuries, prosthetics, pediatrics, nutrient deficiencies, and wellness. The clinic was generous enough to give us a tour of all these different areas. We were taken aback by the large number of patents scattered throughout the clinic.

The majority of prosthetic cases we saw were for land mine accidents. This shocked us because everyday we take for granted the fact that in the US we won’t ever step on a land mine. In addition, vaccinations are a daily norm in the United States while here, it’s a rarity for families to receive simple preventative care.

We were astounded by the differences in American healthcare and what was offered at this non-profit clinic. While the same quality of care was provided, the environment was entirely different. For example, in the United States, our hospitals offer labor and delivery rooms that were about the same size as a room at the Mae Tao Clinic where we observed about fifteen different women who were either in labor or who’d just delivered. This goes to show that when treating patients, you must adapt to your situation. Adaptation is also a critical aspect of global citizenship and it was great to see this in acton.

Grasshopper hunting

By Raychel Hamada and Teal Gibo

The sky was ablaze with bolts of lighting the night we trekked out to hunt for grasshoppers. The seven of us that had singed up for the excursion were prepared, covered from neck to toe and equipped with our headlamps and flashlights. What we weren’t prepared for were the hundreds of insects flying toward the light of the headlamps and into our faces. It took awhile for us to finally decide to remove the lights from our heads and carry them in our hands instead. Once we did, it was an effective remedy, leading us to believe or discomforts were gone..but we were wrong. When our hunting guides led us to the field, we quickly realized our only option for becoming successful grasshopper catchers was to tromp through knee-deep water. With no previous training,  we were clueless as to what proper techniques of catching entailed. At first we were worried about squishing the grasshoppers and used tender approaches, which included a two-handed clasp and/or slowly pinching at the backs of their legs.  After observing the locals and our more talented peers, we attempted different techniques and were finally able to catch some. We found that the best way included 3 steps: 1) spot the grasshopper, 2) reach and grab with no hesitation and 3) while the grasshopper is struggling in your hand, safely deliver it into the insect trapper (aka, plastic water bottle).  Step 4 is presented the following day  and determined upon the hunter herself …to eat the protein-rich, crunchy/fried morsel? Or instead, let fears get the best of her stomach?