Service Experiences in Bangkok and Cambodia. Сваімі ўражаннямі дзеліцца беларуская студэнтка Дар’я Маляўская.

The trip to Bangkok, Cambodia and working at Green umbrella, Mercy Center was undoubtedly useful and challenging for me. I got new knowledge, met a lot of people with open hearts, who inspired me and gave me new strength. It was priceless to see how people live in the poorest regions, what they are doing, how they behave.

In Bangkok, the place, where we worked, is situated in Klong Toey district, which is famous for its slum and poverty. Every morning on our way to Mercy Center I was pretty tired because we had to get up at 5:30 as the way was really long, but when I came to the school and saw the children this tiredness moved away. I was ready to give as much as possible for them. I hugged everyone and showed them small focuses with my hands. For me, it was difficult to realize how they live in slum and smile at the same time. The teachers and children were so open and simple. I did not feel any emotional discomfort working at the school. We played with children, singing song and drawing. Sometimes the children were talking to me in Thai. I saw their eyes, their smiles, and passion, but I was not able to answer them. I just nodded my head and smiled. I wish I could speak Thai.

In Cambodia, I faced much terrifying poverty than in Bangkok. I heard a story about one boy from the Green umbrella school, who cried looking at food at school because at home he did not have it and he was afraid to eat it. The staff helped him and gave some food to bring home for his parents. It made a great impression on me. The majority in that region, where the Green umbrella is situated, is starving. It was too painful to see thick people in the morning walking through rice field and searching for rats or snakes for breakfast. They looked like a real zombie and were moving too slowly wearing dirty clothes.

When we went to a local community, I faced more daily struggles of people. They showed us a gray mass of crabs that they eat every day. I had a quick glance inside the house and it was so hard because I can not even say that it was a house, it was just something built from scrap materials and decorated with some cloth. The monk said that the lands do not belong to these people and they built their tiny houses illegal, when the government comes, they will have to move away. Some children and their parents even do not have this "basic house", they have to live in the streets. All equipment, which they have, is only a pillow and some plates.

I felt sympathy and at the same time, a strong feeling of shameless: do I deserve all that I have? It was challenging to accept this reality and live with it, see it every day.

Despite that, I noticed that all people were so happy and smiling every minute of life. Their eyes were full of joy and excitement. I have never seen in my life such beautiful, sincere eyes. These children are the real treasure for the world. They were thankful for being with them, for our smiles and simple high-five. They showed me natural openness, kindness, trustfulness and friendliness.

When I was volunteering I felt a strong sense of importance. I realized that I can do something really meaningful in my life and help someone. It was not hard to give small lessons of English, Math or just play basketball with them. I enjoyed doing it. Even when sometimes I could not express myself due to language barriers, I still did not feel excluded and was using gesture to explain myself.

In Cambodia, I lived in one of the best, open and happiest community in my life. I felt a sense of belonging to this place and really want to come back and help in future. All conversations with local people changed my mind and showed me that I have to appreciate more and save what I have right now, stop complaining about my life and just enjoy it because some people even don’t have food to eat.

One thing is to know about poverty, and another thing is to see it with your own eyes.

аўтар Дар’я Маляўская