For field studies in grade 9, I got the opportunity to travel to Phuket. Personally, I am interested in different cultures around the world, so I was really looking forward to explore and learn more about culture, lifestyle, and the different environment there. Traveling to Phuket gave me this chance to visit the community there and be able to physically do something to help.
Since they could not take the whole grade, the grade spilt into 2, where one half went to Izu, and the other half went to Phuket. Counting me, there were 30 students who traveled to Phuket, with the following teachers, Mr.Stanworth, MrRossing, and Ms.Cox. We set off on sunday october the 19th at around 6 in the morning, and arrived at BIS(British International School in Phuket) at night. What a day that was! I was exhausted that night by the long hours on two planes, and not to mention watching 6 movies on the plane, but very excited at the same time.
During the trip, there was a trek through a rainforest, this was my first time going through a rainforest. I never lived in a place which has a rainforest, so this was very exciting. I like seeing the different plants but I was not so comfortable walking through them mainly because I am quite afraid of insects and bugs, although it was a very hard 4 hour for me, I was amazed by how many new habitats I saw, such as the rare crab, weird insects and funny looking plants. This 4 hour hike made me realize how the natural environment is so different from Japan, where I live it is not often we get this chance to see a lot of nature.
I actually never really heard about mangroves before going to one in this trip, and having the chance to do mangrove planting was a new experience for me again. When we visited the mangrove, Mr. Rossing talked about the ecosystem and biodiversity as we walked through it. Before that, we spent some time planting ourselves. It was a bit like planting I did when I visited a farm back home. After the mangroves, we went across to a fishing village. The fishing village was small, the life there was no where near ours, but the people who lived there had big smiles on their faces and very kind, although some parts in living for them is very limited they were still enjoying their life there.
This trip made me learn that Thailand is the world’s largest producer of rubber. When we got to visit a large rubber plantation the guide and workers there talked about how rubber is produced, and even showed us the different steps, from getting the rubber liquid out the rubber tree, making a mixture, dry the sheets of rubber and using that to create adorable rubber toys.
During this trip other than traveling to different sites to explore, we also visited to the Burmese kid’s school to help paint the walls and painted 4 murals. I was very surprised by what their school was like. Their school was a shelter divided into 2 small rooms. There were no doors, windows and it just was not a proper classroom. Seeing this made me more eager to help improve the classroom. It also made me think about how many other kids from around the globe are in this same kind of situation. The whole morning we took turns painting the walls and the murals, and of course, we had to splash each other around with a bit of paint. The weather was very hot and I sweated a lot, but at the same time enjoyed this job. This was my first time involved in this kind of service, and it felt good work for other people, which I never really experienced before. After a few hours we had a little snack break, to refill ourselves, and got back to work. We could not really do any building up, but the classroom definitely looks more like an classroom with the newly painted walls and colorful murals. I was very impressed in how we worked Collaboratively with each other to get the painting done.
Another challenging situation was the communication between us and the burmese kids when they came to spend time with us. They spoke their home language and only a few simple words in english, so it was a challenge to communicate with them. I felt a bit stuck at first and did not know what to do, but after spending a whole day with them, I found that I was actually interacting with them. I was in the group for playing with the smallest kids, and it was probably the most difficult group to handle. Yes, they were a bit naughty, but I thought they were super cute. They were mischievous at first, and very curious about the surrounding, but as soon as we got the game going, I was very surprised in how well they understood our demonstrations and the game rules so quickly. In a few minutes time, we were having fun, comfortable with each other and everything felt very normal.
Before we left Phuket, we went to visit a Burmese camp, to give them gifts we brought from home. It was such a heart touching moment, it is a feeling that I am not able to describe. I remember the smiles on their faces and how happy they were seeing us. The women and kids there were very nice, we shook hands and said hello. I thought that this was one of the best moments of the trip. I have seen news on less developed places, but this is my first time actually going to one, and I even got to communicate with the people. The visit here made me see the world differently, that people actually live lives like this, because when I see it on the television I am not seeing it in real life so I do not get this kind of unforgettable feeling.
Overall, I thought Phuket was a meaningful trip, and I am very glad I chose to go there. If this trip were to be repeated, I would keep everything the same, but to take more photos to record more of the precious time. I got to experience new challenges, I learnt about the people, environment, but I would still like to learn more about the traditions and history of Phuket. During this trip I did learn more about the culture, the rubber plantation, how rubber is made, the mangroves and actually being able to try planting myself, and the life at the fishing village. Going through a rainforest for the first time, and learning about the habitats. As well as going on the boat ride to see so clear waters for the first time, and learning about the coral reefs and sea life. Most importantly, I have come back with many new opinions on how I view lives of people in different parts of the world. Such as I now believe that it is not completely the fault of people living less developed countries for living in a very different condition to others, everyone is equal, it is just that where they are geographically located is not as lucky as others, the experiences of the country in the past and size. A great proof and example to this opinion is Egypt, Egypt was once a very rich country with great resources but as the climate became desert and they lost their advantage. Japan is a resource-poor country but because of its small size and small population, they are able to sustain and develop the country well. I think that this visit also gave me the chance to get the real image of countries before skyscrapers and how difficult life was in the past compared to now.