If you are reading this post you are probably thinking of volunteering in Thailand, at an orphanage. Eurphon children’s home in Chumphon, Thailand, welcomes volunteers with any or many talents. You can do pretty much anything here: cooking, cleaning, playing with kids or teaching them, looking after horses and other animals, gardening, fixing or renovating and so on. You won’t run out of things to do, that’s guaranteed. Their Facebook page can be found here.
It’s laid-back and friendly
On the other hand, we are in Thailand, so things are sabaii, sabaii, laid back. Everything is kind of like organised chaos, moving on at its own pace. Yes, there is rubbish a bit here and there, things need fixing, and the level of hygiene, or the whole concept of cleanliness, in general, in Thailand, is quite different from what we are used to in the West. I haven’t gotten any food poisonings, nor stomach problems, even though I tend to get them about every 3 months in the tropics, so it can’t be too bad either. If you want to know more about my time here at Eurphon, have a look at this post.
If you don’t mind simple life, you can live on the premises, in a tree house. But I must stress, it’s very simple. You have a mosquito net and a lamp in the dwelling, but that’s about it. The toilet and bathroom are just a few metres away, and the toilet flushes (when the water pump is working) and the shower is new (working also more or less frequently). There is a tap with running water. When it’s working, haha. We are in the jungle, so there are mozzies and ants. Oh yeah, and frogs, geckos and so on.
Pigs have their paddock quite close but I think they are just cute and I like feeding them. The “oink oink” grunts add that extra spice, in addition to the usual jungle sounds. On top of the aforementioned, it can get quite muddy when it rains. Now it’s the monsoon season, so I haven’t needed a fan. It hasn’t been that hot. And it comes without saying, no air-con either.
Homestay or hotel
If you’d prefer to stay in a “normal” house, there is an inexpensive hotel nearby. You could stay there and come to Eurphon for the day. There are a few shops, restaurants and a market about 5 minutes drive away. They even have a 7/11 and a Tesco Express.
On the other hand, perhaps it wouldn’t be the complete Eurphon experience if you’d stay in a hotel. Nevertheless, it would be better than not coming at all.
But, to be honest, at the moment I can see the perks of staying in a hotel as well: running water, clean bed with no ants and mozzies, the opportunity of storing your own food without ants colonising all of it. If you want to stay on the premises, you don’t have to pay, but of course, contributions towards your living expenses are appreciated.
There is delicious Thai food served daily, but sometimes the food is very simple so you might want to bring some snack or fruits for yourself as well. You can also find ample amounts of “khanom” around, which is Thai and means sweets or delicacies. Visitors love bringing cakes, donuts, cookies, and special Thai khanom, you see. The kids obviously love the treats, and so have I!
Behaving and sweet kids
The children are lovely, friendly and easygoing, similar to Mama and Papa who run the place. What’s really surprised me, is that there is very little quarrels or bickering. The kids range from toddlers to teenagers, so you are able to do different activities with different age groups. I’ve taken more the role of a youth activity leader, rather than watching over the little ones.
Also, here the whole concept of care-taking is quite different. In West, you have strict rules and ratios on how many caretakers you need to have per child and they are constantly being watched over and serviced. Here, the small ones play a lot together and they able to roam free. Mama said to me that the babies are easy: “They need just food and keeping them clean, but the teenagers can be hard work while going through their puberty.” I think many over-careful Western nannies would completely disagree with this. But, here it seems to make perfect sense.
Still keen on volunteering in Thailand at an orphanage?
If you are still interested, you can contact Eurphon by calling Mama 0971924939. Her real name is Narada but I call her Mama or P’Nui and her husband, P’Nong, Papa, like the Thai children call them Mum and Dad in Thai. I can wholeheartedly agree that this volunteering has been an experience of a lifetime. Eurphon is like a big family, and it consists of people who have hearts in their right places. I definitely want to come back here again.