My World Challenge: 22 June – 7 July

I’m pretty certain the girls won!

We arrived in a hot and steamy Bangkok late on Sunday evening. The girls were given a portion of the budget to take care of and the first leader had to figure out how to get taxi’s to the backpackers. There was waiting…but eventually we were delivered to a bustling and vibrant Khoa San road and we found New Joe’s backpackers.

So began the adventure, with a a different leader every day the girls had to plan activities, transport, accommodation and meals. The team decided to have smaller committees responsible for each of these aspects of the trip with the team leader making tough calls where necessary.

The first week was rough as they realised that they could not look to their teachers for answers. It was rough for the teachers who like to give answers! From trains to Marigold hotel type buses to speeding ferries and tuk tuks we travelled hundreds of kilometres.

The girls learned how to see. We saw cities with golden temples, swarming with mangy dogs and skinny cats. We saw lush and bright forests in rural areas with mangy dogs and skinny cats. We relaxed on a postcard perfect island with mangy dogs and skinny cats. We experienced so much and that was just with our eyes.  They also learned to look for clues, the tourist information signs, bus stops, remembering how they got somewhere and so how to get home.

The girls learned how to talk and listen. How to bargain with the people, to ask for directions, to ask for advice and all in gesticulations and facial expressions. Luckily the thai people were warm and friendly and interested in helping these foreign girls. Communication skills were greatly enhanced through these interactions and also through working with each other to achieve their goals.

The girls learned how to taste. They started out with French fries, toasted sandwichs , chips and ice-creams and ended up eating pad thai, curries and other culinary delights…even a scorpion or two.

And boy did they feel. The heat at over 40 degrees the humidity at 100 %. Sweat was a best friend and a breeze was a blessing. The equatorial sun was harsh and burned quickly, while mosquitos were always looking for a juicy bit of skin.

We experienced Erawan falls and had fish nibble our toes, we walked Hellfire pass and heard about the atrocities committed to build it in record time. At a small school 50 metres of road was laid in a day and the girls tried their hand at teaching young thai children.

The girls dealt with squatting on porcelain toilets, squirty hoses instead of toilet paper and a bucket instead of a shower. Those character building kinds of things. They also dealt well with the challenge of shopping in Thailand and dancing on beaches – not such a tough challenge!

Arriving home and looking at our Wynberg girls I’m proud of them  and I’m pretty certain the girls won.