One of the most enjoyable and meaningful trips/experiences happend when I least expected it. We were told to go buy toys, balls, and various other items that kids would like as we were going to visit a local school. When I say local I mean, 1 1/2 hour Song Thaow ride Northwest of Chiang Mai in the middle of no-where. I don’t know if I’ve ever meantioned what a Song Thaow actually is, well it is a small pickup, the size of a Toyota Tacoma, with a canopy on it. The canopy is not the normal canopy as you would see in the USA, it is taller with a single bench running the length of the truck over each tire.
After our long journey up the mountain we were greated by the children at a grade school, it was a couple of buildings with 1 or 2 small classrooms each. The children were just getting done with lunch as we pulled up, and came running once they saw us. Now being that I love kids and am a kid at heart, I had no problem adapting to a quick game of keep-away with a soccer ball we had brought for them. We got enough kids together to play a game and after a half hour or so the kids started showing us the games they play in the field. They liked to play snake, which you get in almost a conga line and the first people in line, or the head, fight over and try to get to the back of the other snake. I was the head of one of the snakes, and after a little while I fell and thus the other team won. It was fine until the kids told us we had to perform the losers dance, which looked a lot like a chicken dance here in the states. We obliged and after humiliating ourselves, we done playing and ended up just talking with the children.
As our trip came to a close we were serenated by the children with local Thai songs and dances, as we were walking back to the Song Thaow one of our professors told us that these children wouldn’t see past the 6th grade. Because we were in farming coountry we were told that that is as long as the parents can afford for the kids not to be working the fields with them.
As we drove away the kids chased our Song Thaows and waved goodbye. I will never forget the fun we had in the hills Northwest of Chiang Mai.