End of School Year

The countdown to the end of the school year is on. The Thai school holidays start in March and finish mid May. This time takes in the Thai New Year and all round party time called Songkran, which falls on the 13,14, and 15th April. At Sarnelli House there has never been so much activity, the children are all madly cramming as the end of year exams happen next week.  After the 5pm dinner, a quick shower and tablets at 6pm, it’s off to the big TV room come homework room where benches are pulled down to make up tables and book and pencils and rulers are taken out of school bags. It’s all heads down as the house mothers sit at a table with a group of 10 – 15 kids at each table, who all need help straight away. There’s much swapping of homework and discussion about the right answers, and the English homework has many kids utterly perplexed. No matter how much the children wish they could speak English their English school work doesn’t always correspond to their level of understanding.  When the volunteers visit in the school holidays the kids really look forward to learning English from them, hoping that they will catch on quicker than their friends and they will go on to understand their English lessons at school.  

Jawt & Mook

 Even the kids who are not yet attending school at Sarnelli House because of illness - like Dtan, Cookie, Hiew and Dottie have some work to do. Photocopied parts of the school books equal to their learning have been given to them and they are expected to work through these at the same times as the school kids do their homework.


Over at House of Hope the kindergarten classes also sit exams, and the scratching of pencils on books, and the chanting of numbers and the Thai and English alphabet is heard. The toddlers are separated from the kindergarten kids after dinner and a shower. Books and pencils are assembled and the kids lie on their tummies on the floor and diligently trace out the letters of the Thai alphabet. Despite the many interruptions from the littler ones who have escaped the not so watchful eye of house mothers, and the short attention span of the small students, homework is eventually finished and placed back in the school bags for tomorrow.

Nuke (left) & Wat (right) looking for mangoes

 Concentrating on school studies is becoming harder as the weather warms up and the mangoes start to appear on the mango trees everywhere. With only about 2 more weeks of school left there are also big plans for the school holidays and most of it involves visits to Tesco, swimming and bike riding. The children who have relatives alive are able to go and stay with them over the holidays and those that don’t wish they did, as they hear of  families or grandmothers who will come and pick up their friends.  Soon the school bags, the uniforms and the shoes will be put safely away for almost 3 months and the long days of freedom will begin.

Kate Introna
25th February 2011