A flag featuring both cross and saltire in red, white and blue

Following retirement from the teaching profession in December 2008 and the sudden death of my Mother in April 2009, I found myself looking around for something useful to do with my time. Having worked in a pressurised profession, in a managerial position and in an ever growing world of materialism and consumerism, I wanted to stop the world so and get off. I wanted to embrace a simpler way of life.
While visiting Egypt in May 2009, I had the good fortune to meet Anthony from Manchester, England, and his lovely wife Oran from Indonesia with their three beautiful children.
During an after dinner conversation, we talked about my plans for the future. It was then Anthony told me of The Fr Ray Foundation in Thailand. On his return to England, he sent me the Foundation’s website. Following several emails to Derek and putting together the necessary paperwork, I was accepted as a Volunteer and so arrived in Pattaya five months later.

Rosemary – Volunteer from Great Britain

Although I had loved my time as a Teacher right up to the day and hour I retired, I was not really interested in doing more of the same. However, I soon realized that this ‘venture’ was not just about me. I had skills, which were needed at The Vocational School for the Disabled. So besides helping out in the other projects, teaching became a part of my remit. I was asked to teach Speaking and Listening to the new students in the Computer Business and English class. I was distraught thinking about it-panic almost set in! Having always been of a calm disposition was I about to ‘lose it?’ How does one begin to teach Speaking and Listening, when I was in total ignorance of everything one uses to teach this aspect of a curriculum-language and knowledge of the Student’s culture and habits? I didn’t have the answers.
And so I began my daily double lesson-08:20 to 10:00.

Rosemary – Volunteer from Great BritainIt soon became evident that this was something I looked forward to each day. The Students, while always attentive and enthusiastic to learn, had a remarkable spirit and optimism emanating from them. Whilst I worked alongside the Volunteers on the other projects, my heart and mind was with the Students at Mahatai-The Vocational School for the Disabled. If for some reason, lessons were cancelled, I missed my contact time with the Students. It was then I really realized that being here was twofold. Could it be I was receiving more than I was giving? Quite definitely yes! I took whatever opportunities there were to be with them-visits to the temples, going on trips and helping them outside class time. And I can only add how delighted I was when there was six weeks of Saturday classes in February /March.

Now that the Students are on holiday for the month of April, there is a space in my heart. I am truly privileged and honored to have been a part of these young people’s lives. I will never forget each and every one of them during my remaining lifetime.

To conclude-I have found my time here to be both fulfilling and rewarding. Working for The Fr Ray Foundation has enriched my life. I am constantly in awe of and inspired by what I see going on around me. May God continue to bless the work of The Foundation.
With respect, gratitude and appreciation

Sam from England

October 2008 – April 2009

Categories: Volunteer's Stories