Lui Che Woo College and Student Affairs Office jointly organized a one-week Thailand service learning trip for the sake of improving service and leadership capability of students in University of Macau. During Dec 20th-28th, the LCWC Resident Fellow Dr. Chu Caixia and SAO staff Mr. Chong Ian Hio led 20 UM students to a village called Ban Huay Khom in Chiang Rai, Thailand. They aimed to help local villagers to build a bridge to be used for transporting rice. Additionally, students organized colorful extracurricular activities for local pupils. They also took active part in the Christmas celebrations in village. The students think this trip as meaningful and unforgettable.
Upon arrival, the welcome of the villagers especially the host families impressed the students a lot. They prepared rooms very well and provided delicious meals every day. Students felt warm and touched deeply although the daily work was really exhausting.
|The bridge which is currently in use||Student digging holes for putting the pillars|
The primary mission of this trip was to build a concrete bridge that can bear trucks to replace the present bridge made of bamboo which was usually washed away by flood serval times each year. The staffs and students tried their best under a very tough condition to construct the new bridge. It was quite hot there even in December. Students only had access to basic tools such as pickaxes and shovels to dig the holes for pillars. They had to climb up a steep hill to fetch bamboos which is of great use for the construction process. Despite the difficulties, the team showed great solidarity. When making concrete, the team formed a flow line to pass sand, stones and water very efficiently. However, because of the limit of time and budget they could not complete the construction, which was a great pity for all. They hope that they still have chance to go back to the village in the future to finish the remaining work.
In addition to building the bridge, the students organized many activities for local children including ball games, ‘Count and Hug’, making banana ships and Eco chic fashion show-using used newspapers to design clothes. All of them were happy and gales of laughter resonated in the courtyard. There seemed no language and racial barriers but only wonderful and unforgettable friendship among them.
|The part finished by UM team||Making still support for the pillars|
In the culture-exchange party before farewell, local villagers and children performed traditional ‘bamboo dance’. They wove a colorful rope using many strings while jumping over the bamboo poles beside their feet. This admirable performance made all students cheer and clap. Then the UM team also gave a dance show. When it came to the gift-exchange part, Dr. Chu Caixia represented Lui Che Woo College to give the Village Head a college souvenir badge. In the meanwhile each one of the UM team received a special hand-made scarf. This day was Christmas Eve so that students participated in the parade held by villagers to sing Christian chant from door to door. On the next day they left the village and joined the Christmas party organized by ‘Mirror Foundation’. They enjoyed the unforgettable Christmas night with volunteers from all over the world.
|Local students in the ECO-fashion show|
During the last two days of the trip, they headed to Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai to visit noted temples and palaces. They also visited Chiang Mai University to exchange ideas with the staffs there. The student got to know more about culture and education in Thailand.
After this trip the students all feel that they have learned and gained a lot. Here are some sharing from students: ‘I feel a sense of family in this new team. We got to know each other and helped each other. I also learn more about myself.’ ‘This trip improves my willpower and adaptability. I could persevere even the work was boring and tiring.’ ‘I practiced my communication skills since I tried to communicate with people with different language and culture background. I also managed to cooperate with other members as a team.’