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Review of a Volunteer Journey through Nong Khai, Thailand – Part 3

Review of Volunteer Journey in Nong Khai, Thailand – Part 3


We had the weekend off from volunteering at Open Mind Projects. For me personally it was an open space to integrate what was all given, received and shared during the first week. Along with this I also needed to get some extra sleep as well due to the jet leg.

Saturday, April 1 (this is for me no fool’s day)

We were invited by Sven, Co director of Open Mind Projects, to come to his house and than we (7 of us) all went out for dinner at a lovely restaurant close to his home. Gaweechat (Co Director of Open Mind Projects) ordered various dishes to the liking of everyone. Very tasty some a bit spicy others spicy but so lovely to be in such good company.

Sunday, April 2

This morning I walked to Salakaewko “Sculpture Park” from the Guest House.

I first visited a Stupa which was lovely seeing it also had many clear quartz crystals in the Temple.

On the way, a lady stopped with her motorbike to give me a ride to the Park. It was such a compassionate gesture to be in such Gratitude.

Here is an outline of the Park written by Julian Wright of Mut Wee Garden Guest House

You can’t come to Nong Khai and not see the very strange Sculpture Park known as Salakaewkoo… World famous, as one one of the most extraordinary artistic creations of South-East Asia, it contains sculptures that rise more than seven stories high! It was built by the mystic shaman Luang Poo Boun Leua Sourirat, who passed away in 1996, after constructing it, with the help of devotees, for more than twenty years.

Luang Poo Boun Leua Sourirat loved snakes, so much so that he believed in the “coming of the age of the snake”. Seeing them as the purest of all animals, having no arms or legs with which to destroy the world, he described himself as being half man, half snake. Was this love of these phallic like animals in some way connected with his reputed homosexuality? He claimed that in his youth he had fallen into a hole in the forest where upon he met the acetic “Kaewkoo” who lived at the bottom of it. “Kaewkoo” taught him all secrets of the underworld, not least about snakes which were the principal inhabitants of that realm. Later, he trained as a Hindu Rishi in Vietnam and mixed Hinduism into his system of beliefs.


As a Lao national, he first started to produce sculpture on the riverbank on the Lao side of the Maekong river. But as the communists became more powerful, he became concerned that they may not accept his unorthodox views and so fled to Nong Khai in 1974, where he embarked on the creation of Salakaewkoo; his grandest artistic vision. The name means the “Pavilion of Kaewkoo”.


Luang Poo passed away in 1996 aged in his early seventies. He was ill, it was said, from a fall from a ladder up one of his sculptures. But others claimed that he was suffering from some kind of anemia.


The main building and incence chapel were built after his death, following his plans and drawings. He always claimed that his followers, who built all the statues, were entirely untrained, but their skill came to them from a divine source. Moreover, he frequently warned that anyone who drank even a sip of water in the park would eventually give to it all their money! However, in the years following his death Salakaewkoo became more and more run down and untidy… until the local government stepped in and decided that his legacy should not be allowed to deteriorate further, so now it is being repaired and restored to its former grandeur.

There are more than one hundred sculptures in the park some of them reaching seven stories up into the sky. Some depict snakes, others images taken from either Theravada or Mahayana Buddhism. Hinduism is well represented too, with images of Shiva and Pavati, Brahma and Vishnu.

The greatest sculpture of all is the Wheel of Life at the far end of the park. As this diagram shows (for a clear printable copy, click on it to download an Adobe pdf version) in Luang Poo’s view, is a cycle of influences and phases, which start at one’s conception and end at one’s death. The Buddhist elements of heat, breath, wisdom and change are represented, as are the stages of birth, aging, suffering and death. Finally, one follows the Lord Buddha over the wall of life to nirvana…


On the way, back to the Guest House walking on the Highway once more a lady with a motorbike gave me a short ride.


The afternoon I spent sleeping.

Review of the Volunteer Training – Day 2 and 3 – at Open Mind Projects, Nong Khai, Thailand – Part 2

center Open Mind Projects

Thursday, March 30 – Continuation of Volunteer Training Day at Open Mind Projects, Head Office Nong Khai

We started the Thursday morning with, Joiy as teacher, daily Thai language “introducing your self” This is a short introduction:

Sawadee – Chue Carla – Ma jaak The Netherlands – Ar yu hop sip ho – yi dee tee dai roo jak – Kop Kun Kha (kha for female, khrap for male)

Hello – My name is Carla – I come from The Netherlands – I am 66 years old – Nice to meet you – Thank you.

Culture do’s and don’ts

Joiy taught us the basics along with demonstration and we also practised this as well.


Greeting: Thai, Lao and Khmer people traditionally greet one another by pressing the palms together to wai (in Thai) or nop (in Lao), although it is acceptable for men to shake hands. You don’t wai a child first. A younger person wais an older person first. After the wai you can shake hands.

Eating: Never throw rice away; leave it on your plate if you cannot finish it. Eat with a spoon, using the fork to push food onto it. Don’t offer to pay if you’ve been invited out to eat; the “inviter” always pays.

Passing people: It is polite to gently crouch down when passing someone who is seated. Never step over someone in your path; if someone is lying on the ground, walk around them. Don’t walk around their head; rather, walk around their feet.

Taking photos: Before taking a photo of a person or a place, ask if it is ok. Thai, Lao and Khmer people are typically more than willing to have their picture taken when asked.nks: Women are not allowed to touch monks. A woman gives something to a monk by placing it on a table or something similar or hand it to another male “normal person.” A man may give something directly to a monk but always with two hands. Special seats are often allocated for monks on public transport and in airports.

The Thai Royal Family: Disrespect to the royal family is a crime, including for foreigners.

Public Displays of Affection (PDAs): Modesty means that PDAs are frowned upon.

The Head: Don’t touch! Touching somebody’s head, especially someone older, is offensive.


The Feet: Don’t sit on the floor or a chair with your feet pointing at anyone. Don’t touch anyone with your feet. Don’t rest your feet on tables or chairs. Don’t use your feet to move or turn objects on or off. Feet are meant for transportation only!

Handing things to people: Hand objects to people using both hands to be polite. Don’t slide or throw objects to people.

Giving things: Distributing gifts to children encourages begging. Instead, give to an established organization, villager elder or teacher.

naamloos (8)

Shoes: Remove your shoes when entering a Thai home and always wear them when outside. When unsure if you should take them off, ask or watch what others do.

Patience: Thais are very patient. Don’t expect them to be punctual. Sometimes plans just don’t happen. Speak softly and avoid showing anger if things don’t go as you expected.

Dress politely: When entering temples and school’s shorts, tops that show shoulders and are low cut, and skirts above the knees are inappropriate.

Dress cleanly and neatly: Women should avoid exposing themselves very much at all. Watch how Thai teachers dress and behave in school. Thais are extremely modest about nudity and women dressed in exposing clothing will receive less respectful treatment or be avoided. Dressing appropriately is a sign of respect, dressing inappropriately is offensive.


Next on the agenda was going with a Tuk Tuk, directions and shopping at the market.

Sawadee Kha – Pai Market – Thao Rai – OK – Leow Saiy – Leow Khuay – Throng Pai – Yud – Kap Khun Kha (for female) Krap (for male).

Hello – Could you take me to the Market? – How much is it? – OK – Turn left – Turn Khuay – Straight forward – Stop – Thank You

Buying at the Market:

naamloos (7)  Thailand-Fruit-and-Vegetable-Market-506x480

Sawadee Kha or Krap – Nee Kue (sapparat) – Mee (Sapparat) Mai – Mai Ao (Sapparat) – OK – Kap Khun Kha or Krap

Hello – Do you have (Pineapple)? – I would like to buy (Pineapple) – How much is the (Pineapple)? – OK – Thank you

Tuk Tuk

The Volunteers with a Trainee went to Lunch at a Restaurant to order food, eat and enjoy.


We than came back and it was explained how to plan lessons, advice with how to teach learning by doing. Situation-based learning. We also talked about the themes of the camp for teenagers and young adults.

With some trainees, we went walking to the local market to buy food for the dinner this evening. We received a list written in Thai along with money so that we could speak and learn what it was that was placed on the list and bargain for prices.

When we came back we cooked the dinner with each other. A wonderful experience to communicate with each other and learn the kitchen of Thailand. A beautiful table was prepared and on another table the chairs, plates etc. We all sat at a long table and certainly had the pleasure of enjoying a wonderful meal.

After the dinner was a welcome ceremony of blessings via a rope bracelet placed upon on left wrist. One by one this was done by the staff members and trainees. It certainly touched me deeply in the heart and tears come up of the joy and sharing.

After this some staff members did some traditional dancing – welcome – new beginnings – a dance where we all joined in as well. Such a delight and fun.

Than came “karaoke”, something that is dear to my heart as singing and music is for me an expression of vibrational heart connection. Various kinds of request and songs were shared in English and Thai until late in the evening. Because it was so late 22:00 hours I was invited to sleep over for the night. A bed, clean sheets, a ventilator was placed and a good night and pleasant dreams flowed.

The movement via the Tzolkin in its resonance:

naamloosChant: Ben, Cimi, Cib, Men, Cimi

Planets: Mars, Saturn and Asteroid Belt or Planet Maldek.

KIN 206, White Spectral Worldbridger

Key vibration: Resonate into the open space of integration, release, compassion and acceptance.

The natural flow or supportive spiral movement energy of courage in being who you are in Here and Now together with the inner guidance of messages to be in the spiral movement of releasing letting go of that which no longer serves who you are together with the collective of all.

The challenge, strengthening and open opportunity of not staying in the past of drama’s or trauma’s by picking up the staff to go to the other shore using your Intelligence to explore and discover the vision and dreams you have as they are awakened into the Now.

To allow and surrender to be in this centered, grounded and anchored open space of opportunities and openness.


Friday, March 31 – Continuation of Volunteer Training Day at Open Mind Projects, Head Office Nong Khai

We started the Friday morning with, Joiy as teacher, daily Thai language “words that can be used in the classroom”:

Ngiap Kha – Chaa Chaa Kha – Dang – Reow Reow Kha – Ee Krang Kha – Ma Nee Kha – Pood taam Kha – Dee mak Kha – Kao jai mai?

Be Quiet – Slow – Loud – Fast – Again – Come Here – Repeat – Very Good  – Do you understand?

Friday, March 31 – Continuation of Volunteer Training Day at Open Mind Projects, Head Office Nong Khai

This morning we practiced some words for in the classroom with Joiy.

Ngiap Kha               quiet

Chaa Chaa               slow

Dang                         loud

Reow Reow             fast

Ee(k) Krang             again

Ma Mee                    come here

Pood taam               repeat

Dee maak                very good

Kao jai mai             do you understand?

The rest of the morning and afternoon was working on camp training, working out the theme of Environment/Global warming etc.

The movement via the Tzolkin in its resonance:

naamloos (2)Chant: Eb, Cauac, Caban, Ix, Manik

Planets: Earth, Pluto, Uranus and Asteroid Belt or Planet Maldek.

KIN 207, Blue Crystal Hand

Key vibration: Resonate into the creation of global and universal open space of commitment and working together.

The natural flow or supportive spiral movement energy of wisdom in being able to make choices from your free will in whatever situation to allow the spiral movement of transformation or changes to be in the self-generative energy flow.

The challenge, strengthening and open opportunity of synergy to navigate and discover within which step is asked for or received to explore and discover the hidden power or talent of integrity or magical moment of celebrations.

To allow the flow of being in this centered, grounded and anchored open space of accomplishment step by step of projects, goals, creations included the healing.

Blessings to All.




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