March 12, 2014

My site assignment

Well, we found out where I'm being sent for the next two years. Here's what I know so far:

Province: Chaiyaphun

The province is cut in two by the Phetchabun mountain range, with the highest elevation in the province at 1222 m (4000 ft). The east of the province belongs to the Khorat Plateau.

Four national parks are located in the province. The That Thon National Park is in north-west of the province, featuring some scenic waterfalls and dry dipterocarp forests. The biggest attraction of the Sai Thong National Park in the west of the province is the Sai Thong waterfall, but also some fields of the Siam Tulip. Similar fields can be found in the Pa Hin Ngam National Park in the south-west. This park has its name from the strangely shaped rock formations found there (beautiful rock forest). Phu Laenkha National Park covers another 200 km² of forested hills northwest of Chaiyaphum city.

Sai Thong Waterfall

Siam Tulip

strange shaped rock formations
found in the Phu Laenkha National Park

People: Most people in Chaiyaphum province are ethnically Lao. The first language of most people is the Isan language, a dialect of the Lao language.

Agriculture: Principal crops in Chaiyaphum include rice, tapioca, sugar cane and taro root. Chaiyaphum is renowned as a center for the Thai silk industry.

Silk fabrics

School: 18 teachers, 230 students, from kindergarden to 9th grade

My co-Teachers teach the 7th, 8th & 9th grade and the 1st, 2nd & 3rd grade

I will meet co-teachers next Monday for a 2-day conference to get to know each other and then after we swear in, will take me to my new site. I will stay with them for a few days while I interview a few potential host families and then will move again into a new home for the next 3 months.

I'm nervous and excited (but maybe more nervous than excited).

Several of the volunteers I've spent the most time with during PST, Kailei and Lydia are at the opposite ends of the country. I know I'll miss them terribly but it sounds as if they got great sites. Lydia, whose school is in the southern part of Thailand where it is mostly Muslim, is also a concert pianist and her school asked specifically for someone to help them start a music program besides teaching English. Kailei will be near the Myanmar border and might get to work with some of the hill tribes.

That's all for now. We have a going away party Saturday night with our families