2019 service trip: 

Educational access & infrastructure in northern thailand

In July of 2019, nine L.I.V.E. club members journeyed to Northern Thailand, where we contributed to the construction of a new kindergarten classroom at an elementary school in a small village in Mae Hong Son Province. This village provides elementary school access to children from many of the surrounding rural hill tribe villages, who do not have the ability to go to school in their own villages. The L.I.V.E. team worked to fill in the flooring and build walls for the new kindergarten classroom. While there, they stayed in local homestays, overcoming language barriers to engage with and interact with their hosts and other members of the community. 
The L.I.V.E. team was also able to interact with the children at the elementary school, visit and play with the students at their local dormitory, and speak with many community representatives. We spoke with the principal of the elementary school to learn about the Thai education system and the issues facing these rural minority groups in Thailand, as well as with the mayor of the village, who told us about her way of life and the challenges of the local villagers. We were also able to engage with local Karen people, who told us about the problems facing the Karen refugees in Thailand and Myanmar today. 
We were also able to partake in many different cultural learning activities, visiting several different Buddhist temples and learning about the impact of Buddhism on the Thai culture, taking a Muay Thai kickboxing class, learning about local handicrafts and traditional Karen weaving practices, and visiting an elephant conservation center to learn about the history and current state of elephant culture and tourism in Thailand. All of these activities helped our team to engage with and learn about the culture in Thailand, opening our eyes to a way of life very different from our own. 
"Frankly, I was uncomfortable and felt very out of my element on this trip, and this was the best trip I have ever been on. The spiders were terrifying, the homestay was intimidating, the work was hard, and the bucket showers cold, but through these experiences I was able to grow as a person, challenge myself, and gain a new perspective on culture and life. I learned that sometimes being a little uncomfortable can do farm more good than harm”
-Christina Sharpe, Class of 2020
“It felt so motivating and humbling to put myself in a place where we are just purely benefiting others while learning so much. Not only did our group go on a trip together, but we went on an emotional journey together, and I’ll always remember everyone on this trip because I believe every single person that we came with or met in Thailand has greatly impacted me”
-Faith Green-Roy, Class of 2020

tHANK YOU TO OUR 2018-2019 SPONSORS who made this trip possible: 

Ojai optimist club

 

d'mundo tile

aqua-flo supply

Sofia Murillo

doug koch

wynette Weller

francine nelson

stephen Davis

Sara Gainey

Robert place

Quail run ranch

exotic Thai cuisine

michelle sherman

Carol Kline

Allan ramsey

Zachary taylor

general landscape, inc.

Martha Perez

Erin Gainey

Theresa Mann

helen palmer

Boccali's Pizza

Mandala Restaurant

Andrew buck

Ojai education foundation

joyce sakai

La Fuente Mexican grill

Taylor Wealth Management

o-hi frosty

Mary Taylor