CHIANG MAI VILLAGE, THAILAND :: KAREN VILLAGES + HANDICRAFTS // volunteering turned shopping spree in the jungle

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With little connection to city-life (meaning no cell phone reception, absolutely no internet connection, and man made roads that need a local to drive on), life is very simple; as a tourist you can go on a jungle trek, ride an elephant, forge a river, or soak in the landscape with your significant other. But if you’re looking for something more rewarding, you can opt to volunteer your time to the jungle community.

Volunteers are needed in the local villages, so I asked to help out by teaching English for the duration of my jungle visit (for more info., contact Next Step Thailand).

Organized to teach the next day, another traveler/primary school teacher (Yuki) decided to come with me. We woke up early in the morning, had the local guide pick us up and he brought us down to the school on his motorbike.

Upon arrival, the school looked “quiet”; turned out that the schools were closed this week for a teacher workshop (miscommunication with the school)… so this was the only thing we got to see haha…

Disappointed that we didn’t get a chance to meet the children, our local guide escorted Yuki & me to the Karen Villages. We saw kids playing in the streets, locals sitting & chatting, and women weaving handmade scarves.

Since I didn’t get a chance to contribute through education, I did the next best thing…

I gave the women 500 baht ($15.00) and bought four scarves. Yes, that was my solution.

And three bags of banana chips (because I was starving) at 15 baht a bag.

Oh and I may or may not have purchased a woven hammock for 100 baht since I thought it could be useful/fun to have.

In the next post you’ll find out where I felt most comfortable volunteering my time since schools were closed… hint below!


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