In July, Andrew and Janice joined our summer study program ,for a month of experiential education and hands-on volunteering. The conservation-themed program included organic gardening in Ban Talae Nok, planting mangrove trees, helping control riverbank erosion, and helping with seagrass and turtle conservation at Ban Lion. Andrew and Janice have now returned to the University of California at Los Angeles, where they are sharing the knowledge and experience gained during their time with Andaman Discoveries. Thanks to them both for their enthusiasm and excellent community service.
Janice's blog: " ... We had dinner inside. Then I “showered” by scooping water over myself from a large basin of water to freshen up before bed. This is a little tricky when you are not used to it and takes practice. One more activity was planned for the evening. Rai dressed Andrew and I both in traditional Muslim attire. We learned that prayers are held five times a day, though not always at the mosque. We learned a greeting or way to say blessings upon you that uses words and hand motions. There is no alcohol in the village and no pork/pigs or dogs. However, there are a lot of caged birds, cats, chickens, ducks, geese, goats, cows, and buffalo..." read more on jrowland.blogspot
Andrew's Blog : " Living in a homestay
I was in two homestays for the past couple weeks, one was called Bantalaenok and the other was Banlions.
Banlions doesn't have electricity. Very simple housing. Generators run from 6:30pm to 10:30pm that provide energy. Every time else, nada. Dunno if I could adjust to that as a regular tenet of my lifestyle. I appreciate it, but don't think I could make it a standard dealio.
Banlions has a ton of mosquitoes. The village makes up for the insect problem by having the most amazing beaches, though. Warm waters, soft sand, and at night...the most lit up starry sky - ever. Absolutely fantastic.
For the World Cup, Thais were all about Argentina (the team that I shifted my allegiances to after Ghana mucked up US hopes...damn you Ghana, damn you. I will never visit your country). Everybody loves Messi, and there was definitely a feeling of loss when the team got booted. After that Spain became the new adopted country. And as a side note, people here hated Germany.
Bantalaenok is a Muslim village located near the ocean. Half of the village was wiped out from the tsunami from several years ago. Since it's a Muslim village there isn't any pork, making up for it with lots and lots of cats. Also, a government initiative to allow the community to eat more livestock granted families with cows. However, the people didn't use the cows for food, but as pets. As a result, you can see cows roaming the streets and walking on the beach. It's weird...Twilight Zone-esque to chill out at the beach and see cows in the ocean.
Several of the Bantalaenok boys gave me a few points in Muay Thai boxing in exchange for some Tae Kwon Do lessons. Watch out UFC, I can feel my career blossoming.
I made soap with the women in Bantalaenok, created some artwork, wove leaves into roofs, made tie-dye with women in Banlions, drove a tractor, ate grasshoppers and other insects (grasshoppers taste like seaweed), and helped construct a building for students at a Buddhist temple... "