Today is the day we touch down on Thailand, ready to make a mark and forge new and meaningful experiences during this month-long break after a tiring Term 2.
Our main objective is to deploy solar powered lights in a small primary school in a rural village. To achieve this, we collaborate with students from King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), to build necessary foundations before setting up solar panels at the site. Of course, we would also seek feedback from teachers and children and work closely with them. We also organised activities with children in the school, to create a fun experience for them.
While we face a daunting task ahead of us, I cannot say that I was not excited when we first touched down in Bangkok at around 9am. We took a long bus journey from the airport to the KMUTT Ratchaburi campus. The reality of me being in a different country did not hit me when we were at the airport – rather, it was during the bus ride, where I could see the change in scenery. In contrast to the metropolitan landscape I am so used to seeing in Singapore, there are many flat grasslands that could stretch as far as the eyes could see, and buildings do not usually go very high, topping at most about 5 storeys. While what I saw cannot exactly be representative of the whole scenery in Thailand, but nonetheless it is something we cannot find in Singapore, given our small land mass.
We also made a stop at some shops for a break during the 3 hour long bus journey, where I got coffee (to make up for having to make it to the airport at 4am) and stocked up on some snacks from the convenience store (always essential). There was a second lunch break at a pretty nice restaurant, where I had great Thai cuisine – namely Tom Yam seafood soup and Pad Thai, possibly the two most popular Thai dishes. Overall it was pretty satisfying for my first meal in Thailand, not to mention the aesthetic appeal of the place itself which pushed some of us, including me, to take some photos.
Needless to say when we finally reached the campus I was all weary and drained out. After all, we spent a total of about 12 hours just travelling from Changi Airport all the way to the KMUTT Ratchaburi campus itself. After having a light nap in my dorm, I went out for dinner at the campus canteen, before going out to walk about and explore the campus. Not only was the campus very big and vast, there are some pretty nice sights too especially the long roads, though we did not get the chance to explore much of the campus before it got dark.
Overall, while I was pretty tired by the end of the day, I still felt that it was a pretty solid first day for our trip. Stay tuned, because tomorrow, we will be interacting with the KMUTT students and start work on the system of solar-powered lights.