Saturday, April 26th: Day 1 of the homestay
When you suddenly have no words anymore to express what you want to say you need to find alternative ways to do it. That’s how we felt during the experience of the homestay at the village of Noen Sai, in the province of Trat. We had to confront a reality, which was completely different from the one we are used to. We were going to spend the whole weekend in the house of a family coming from a different background than ours, where no one could speak a word of English.
On our way to the homestay we felt excited, curious but also a bit worried knowing that we would be living for two days with people we had never met before, who seemed so different from us at first sight. However, as soon as we arrived at the house and met our host family any possible worry or insecurity disappeared. Even though we spoke different languages and couldn’t communicate with words, the smile on our faces became the first way to start a bond between us.
We spent the rest of the day in the house and in their orchard, where the owner proudly showed us all his trees and gave us the opportunity to pick some fruit. We also helped his wife in the kitchen preparing a papaya salad. In the evening we joined them to the community’s Pagoda, where they usually go to pray. In the meanwhile we tried to communicate with them. We mostly used body language but we also had the support of a booklet with very useful words from Thai to English and vice versa.
At the end of the day we all understood that language can be a limitation in some cases, but when it comes to human cultural and social exchanges it doesn’t play such an important role anymore. We felt at ease in the house living with people we had been knowing only for less than one day, who treated us as their sons and daughters.
So far we’ve been visiting beautiful places, we have been meeting wonderful people who shared their stories and projects with us and who were able to make us feel close to them and part of their lives. Maybe it’s the magic of Asia, I don’t know, but anyway we feel extremely happy, lucky and honoured to have the chance to be part of all of this.
Written by Veronica