Saturday, February 15, 2014

a school sleepover.

All the kids here in Thailand starting in first grade are mandatorily involved in scouts. Every Thursday up through high school they wear their uniforms and do all sorts of scouty things. Last weekend all of the teachers were enlisted to help out with scout camp at the elementary school. Like everything else in the country it was more than a little unorganized and more than a little over the top. But it was also really fun.

We all met at the school at about 7 Saturday morning and divided into groups to venture out into the jungle (ie the fields and trees surrounding the school) to play games. Each class took turns rotating through our wilderness adventure games and fighting off the heat and the bugs for a couple of hours before snack time and a crowded van ride back to the school grounds. Next was lunch and some more games like a balance beam, a log roll, an army crawl with water and face painting at the end and an intense obstacle course where the kids climbed over a wall, ziplined over a river, slid down a muddy bank back into said river and then crossed over the river again on a tightrope of sorts before making their way back over the wall. They were all tired, wet, and filthy muddy by the time they were done. And they loved it!

After some showers and much-needed clean up everyone gathered back in the cafeteria to make dinner. The teachers supervised but the kids did a lot of the grunt work cutting veggies, cooking eggs and meat, and getting everything all ready for our massive meal. Clean up took a bit of work and then we had performances, singing and skits around the campfire followed by a run through a crazy maze of cardboard boxes before settling into bed.

The kids bedded down on the mats used for naptime but the teachers were stuck with the tile floor which meant I ended up getting about half an hour of sleep that night and the 7am wake-up call Sunday morning came way too early. Some of the more coherent risers joined in group aerobics before breakfast and then we had to clean everything up and get ready for parent pick-up. All told it was only a little over 24 hours and felt like three days. But the kids all had a blast and it was fun to interact with everyone in a more casual setting. You get to know people on a different level when you see them covered in mud and sleep deprived!

Just one more great set of memories to take with me back to ‘real life’ in a couple of months.

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