A Christmas at GVI Phang Nga
I have to admit, I was a little disappointed that Father Christmas hadn’t visited the house during the night and surprised me with a stocking when I woke up on Christmas day. But nevertheless the Christmas tunes were pumping and the team certainly was glowing with Christmas spirit!
All projects (conservation, community and TEFL) joined together for a family outing to the Camillian Social Centre wearing Christmas hats and festive ties to play with the children. Many Christmas tunes were sang, including the Thai twist on “we wish you a merry Christmas” which has a twist on the verse “good tidings to you, wherever you are, good tidings for Christmas and a happy new year” which by the end of the day I had finally remembered. We played various games too, with the most popular involving throwing/catching/kicking of the ball to a volunteer on the balcony and head butting it as he/she dropped it back down to us. We all had a traditional Thai lunch of chicken fried rice, surprise surprise!
Back at the house volunteers and staff pulled together doing various tasks – making the dinner, laying the table, creating paper stockings with all of our names and other last minute decorations making the place as festive as we possibly could (and yes, the Christmas tunes are still being played!). We managed to also head down to Thai Life beach for an hour or so for a drink (I personally had and can recommend the tropical fruit smoothie; the alcohol hasn’t started yet!) as it’s not very often you can spend Christmas day on a gorgeous white sand beach, highs of 27’c and go for a dip in the sea not for the traditional English dare that they do each year. Small confession – it wasn’t the sunniest day since my arrival here in Baan Nam Khem, but it will certainly do!
Christmas dinner was cooked by about 5 volunteers/staff and they did a fantastic job! Feeding 22 heads, they provided us with enchiladas, veg, pasta salad, potato salad, salsa, fried chicken, crispy snacks and much more. Bob (from Bob & Nam’s restaurant down the road; if you haven’t been I suggest going there as soon as you can!!) made us a pumpkin soup too and joined us along with Nam and their daughter Myhomme. I think it is fair to say everyone had multiple courses. As for pudding – an incredible oreo-biscuity based brownie style pudding with toppings such as m&ms, sweets and chocolate drops! I was incredibly happy to see some chocolate.
We played a murder mystery game, organized and set up by one of the volunteers, to work out who murdered Santa. My character was ‘Roxy Rich’ – a spoilt city girl with a bad attitude and describe as similar to Paris Hilton. Everyone fell into character really well and the outfits were very interesting! As the game went on, we discovered the character who murdered Santa was then murdered themselves – and the character who murdered them was me! I had not worked it out and was both gutted and surprised when I read my confession card. I loved the game very much despite being the murderer!
For presents, we decided to do the ‘White Elephant’. This consisted of everyone bringing a present and putting it in the middle; you each pick a number (1-18 in our case) and whatever number you pulled it is your turn; you can chose to either pick a new present from the middle but you don’t know what it is, or steal somebody else’s gift! It got extremely competitive and interesting with people deliberately stealing presents off people just to see their reactions. I was happy with my present – oreos, mentos and soap yay.
Christmas this year was definitely a new experience, but I really enjoyed it and loved the company I had to spend it with too. Merry Christmas everybody!
Tanya Marriott, 4 weeks Community Development volunteer
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