Friday, June 10, 2011

Jan - June 2011

I realized recently that it has been a long time since my last update.

I have in the last few months been fostering a 9 year old boy at my house. He’s a good kid who just needs a little extra attention that is hard to get in a busy household with 18 kids. I also just took on the position of international leader of the children’s home. This means that I spend a lot of time filling out different reports and things that are needed but that I also get to spend plenty of time with the kids.

The kids just went back to school after their 2 month break so now we need to get the English program going again also so I can teach them. It’s difficult because they are in school all day then they come home to do homework and then to have another lesson on top of that is really too much.

During their summer break, we took all the kids to an Island for 3 days/2 nights completely paid for by a sponsor. This was a really good vacation for the kids but nice for all of us to get out of the city for a while. Another sponsor paid for the kids to go to the water park last week. They loved going down the water slides. Whenever the kids go on these trips, I go with them so I get to see new places and do things I wouldn’t normally do also.

Now I am just about to move into a new house. The MERCY Center is moving too far away from my current house so we found another that will be closer. I’m looking forward to the move since there I will actually have a bedroom that is separate from my living room. I can live anywhere really without a problem but it is nice to have that extra space especially now that I have a foster child. Then I can send him to bed in the evenings without having to turn everything off so he can sleep.

I've included a picture of my new house. As you can tell it's before we cut the grass. Volunteers who come to MERCY will also be able to stay in the house as we built 2 extra bedrooms in the one section.

I think that’s it for now.

Friday, October 8, 2010

October 2010

Time for another update.

I went to Canada for 6 weeks and have now been back for a little over a month. It was nice to be back in Canada for a short time in the summer. I don't miss the cold weather at all. I got to see the people in St Catharines, my brother and one niece from out west and I also got to see a friend that I hadn't seen in a very long time which was nice.

I am now able to ride my motorcycle to anywhere I want to go which really saves on transportation costs. It used to cost me 100 baht to go and come back from anywhere. Now I fill up my tank with 80 baht and it lasts me around 3 weeks. It's also much more convenient since I don't have to wait for taxis and songtails anymore.

The kids at Mercy are now enjoying a 3 week break from school. We have designed a program for them which includes some lessons and a lot of game time. We went to the crocodile farm a couple days ago. I think the kids enjoyed it. We saw a croc show, as well as various other animals. There was a great playground there and the kids played for over an hour. Next week we will go to the beach and to another friend's house who has a pool and a big yard.

I imagine that the next couple of months will be quite busy. We are planning a thanksgiving dinner (american thanksgiving) and then a Christmas dinner. It is also Mercy's 10th anniversary this year.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Ok, another update. It seems like time is flying. The kids are all back in school now except the 3 smallest ones who are too young to go still. They do preschool at Mercy. We have started an English program at Mercy in the afternoons. I teach 4 days a week and another person teaches 1 day per week. The children are in groups so they get English class either 1 or 2 days per week. We would also like to start computer class but we don’t yet have any curriculum to teach them. The kids seem to enjoy the English class. It’s got games and songs so it’s more fun than work.

I also still do much of the administration and grant writing. I do have help with the grants now though which is good because this is something that I have never done before coming here. I also have been in charge of keeping the volunteers in work. Our volunteer coordinator is in the USA right now so I have been taking over some of her duties temporarily. It is wonderful to have volunteers but sometimes it’s difficult to keep them all busy. I know at Mercy, we are all volunteers technically, but I’m referring to the ones who come for a short time.

I decided finally that I needed some transportation while here in Pattaya. I bought a motorcycle and have spent the past 2 weeks learning how to drive it. I am getting fairly good at it now although I don’t usually go over 35km/h. I don’t yet have my licence so I can only practice right around Mercy. I have to go get my licence shortly. I’m just not sure I am able to do the test yet. You have to drive back and forth between pylons (not very far apart) and then drive on a skinny wall for 20 ft. If your foot touches the ground at all, you fail.

I would love to come back to Canada for a visit this summer but as of yet I don’t have the finances to do so. I would have to find work for 6 weeks while I was there just to cover my ticket. If anyone knows of a place that would hire for only 6 weeks, please let me know.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Well another month has passed and I thought it was time for a new update.

It is the summer break for the Thai schools so we have all the kids at the Mercy Center during the day now. The oldest ones are taking English lessons off-site in the afternoons since someone has sponsored them for this and I am continuing to teach the little ones. They are very bright children and seem to pick up on the language and the phonics that I teach them. We make crafts, read books, and do puzzles and games in the class also. We have class 4 days a week for 1 hour without any translator so the children are forced to learn to understand me. Of course, I do understand some of what they say in Thai also, but really encourage them to use English.

The rest of my time at Mercy is spent doing administration and grant research. A volunteer has inputted almost 2000 books into the library program so it is getting organized too. He has spent many hours working in there which has saved me a lot of time. We would not be nearly so far if I had to do it alone.

Two volunteers are here from PEI for 3 weeks. I have shown them around the city a little bit (I don’t know where much is). We have been to the market, Carrefour, Lukdod (souvenir place), and this coming week we are going for Thai massage. I rarely buy anything when we go shopping but I just enjoy looking.

I have finished my TEFL course that I was taking. It was a lot of work but I think it was worth it as I now know how to put together lesson plans that will help the children to learn better and stay interested.

I have moved into Pattaya now (from Ban Chang which is a 45 min drive away) so that I can work at Mercy full-time instead of only 2 days per week. This has allowed me to take on additional responsibilities and spend more time also with the children.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Teaching (March 2010)

I have been continuing to teach the preschool children. We have learned a few letters and this week I did a review game and they seem to be remembering what I have taught them. Soon the thai schools have their long break (like our summer) so I will be helping with the older kids too. I have to help plan 8 weeks of activities, including english teaching. It should be fun though. We will be taking trips to the beach and other places too so they are not just at the house the whole 8 weeks. I now live in Pattaya which means I can help at Mercy full-time instead of just 2 days per week.
I am also hoping to take a trip to Qatar where I will teach english for a month or so to get some experience and more ideas for what to do here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February Update

I have started to teach English to the preschool children at mercy. They had their first lesson on Tuesday. I taught them about their body…head, arms, legs… Of course we did the head and shoulders knees and toes song which they like. They do it in Thai also. Then they glued paper cut out in shapes of body parts to make a body. They seemed to enjoy themselves and I will see what they remember when I go in again next week. Fortunately, they have a very good preschool teacher who knows a little English (just not enough to teach) and she will help them throughout the week with what I taught. Next week they are going to learn the letter s. We have the Jolly Phonics program and we are going to see how that works out with them.

We also have finally received the library program. I have started entering the data into the program but it will take a while. We are going to ask for volunteers from the church to help out with that so we can get it up and running as soon as possible.

I have also been asked to do grant research. I have to look up companies that might be willing to give to certain Mercy projects. It is a very time consuming process but I will see what I can find.

I am now taking a TEFL course online. Mercy has funded this for me as I am teaching the Mercy kids. It’s a 100 hour course and I can take up to 6 months to finish it but I don’t think it will take me nearly that long. I have submitted my first assignment and I am just waiting to get the marks back.

In Ban Chang (where I live), we have just discovered a slum. There is also a school right next door to it. The school has 155 children from k to 6. The only toys in the whole kindergarten class are a small bucket of building blocks (like Lego only not as good). Mercy has given me some toys and puzzles to give to that school which we will hopefully bring this week.

I am still enjoying the weather here. We have had lunch on the beach a couple times and I actually got a sunburn last week from being in the back of the truck too long. Anyone tired of the cold and snow should come for a visit. It really is lovely here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Well I can't believe its December already. We have less than a week until Christmas. I have to say that I am thoroughly enjoying the weather here. I like being able to bike and swim outside still and to not have to bundle up just to go out the door.

At the Mercy Center, we finally got the library program that we need to set up the Christian library. Once I have all the books entered into the system (which will take a while) we will be able to lend Christian books out to the church or whoever else wants to read them. This is a valuable thing here as English books are not plentiful and especially Christian ones.

Also, starting in January, I will begin teaching English to the preschool kids and their teacher. The Mercy Center had the Jolly Phonics program donated to them from a kindergarten in Canada. We will start with that for the phonics with a little extra vocabulary added in. We are also looking at finding a good time to teach the older kids but since they go to school already for a full day we have to figure out a schedule. Also, we need a teacher for that since I pick up the boys afterschool and am not at Mercy by the time the kids come back from school.

The boys are off school now for almost 3 weeks so I won't be at Mercy until they go back to school. We will be touring around Ban Chang on our bikes I think. We can ride to the beach which only takes 1/2 hour and we can also ride up to the Tesco if we want to shop and to the park which takes about 20 minutes.

Hope you all have a merry Christmas.