Welcome to Bamboo School. Please read this information pack about Bamboo School, as it contains important information that will assist you before you arrive.
ABOUT BAMBOO SCHOOL
Bamboo School is a Christian orphanage in the remote village of Bong-Ti, on the border of Myanmar and Thailand. Built in 2000, the School has developed hugely over the years. Starting off with just a dormitory, kitchen, classroom and library, the project is now also home to a medical centre with mobile clinics and an ambulance service for the Sai Yok hospital. The majority of students at the Bamboo School are orphans. Without this project in place these children would be homeless with no family for support and no access to an education. The centre is run entirely by volunteers.
God is Number One, so take care of His school and its environment.The children belong to God. Your lifestyle and choices will impact our children so we require :
1. No Drugs
2. No Alcohol
3. No Smoking
4. No Chewing Betel Nut
5. No Meat (spiritual & practical reasons for this)
6. Village Curfew is 9:30pm
- Volunteers are most welcome. However, this is not a tourist destination. This is a working pioneer outpost on the border of a hostile country.
- Before you come, Cat (known as Momo) MUST be informed. No drop-ins! It is wonderful having volunteers coming and helping, and it is appreciated. When you are enquiring about availability, please give at LEAST TWO MONTHS NOTICE. DO NOT BOOK YOUR FLIGHTS until Cat lets you know back that there is availability. Sometimes the place is already full. Please be accurate with the size of your group & their gender & age. If you don’t get a confirmation from Catherine, then make other plans. We highly recommend a minimum of one week – two weeks is better, and 3 weeks or more is even better! This is far better for the children. We definitely do not want people to come for just one or two nights – it creates work (preparing huts/washing linen) & is unsettling for the children.
- We also need to know about any pre-existing medical conditions. Because of the isolation, medical care may not be immediately available.(Please note, that you may be turned down because of your condition.)
- We are a place for training God’s future workers so your presence with us should add to our children’s training. If the Lord calls you to come, it must be with a specific purpose in mind, either a specific project or with the plan to help in the practical things of everyday life, like baby care, cooking, washing dishes, carrying water, gardening, landscaping, construction, teaching, medical work, etc. Plan to live like we live – we are vegetarian, and have a basic vegetarian diet with rice for every meal. If you would like bread, feel free to bring your own.
- Please come with a happy heart, willing to accept the best that jungle children can offer. Criticism or complaining is the hardest thing for our children to handle. But they love compliments. Most of them have never been as far as Kanchananburi (the nearest city, just an hour’s drive away). They have no idea what it’s like to go to a restaurant.
- So, if you come, please bring a happy optimistic smile on your face and warmth, love and adaptability in your heart.
- We eat our meals three times a day, vegetarian.
- Malaria season is normally from March to November. We believe in prevention and supply mosquito nets but you are strongly advised to bring insect repellent, (eg Deet) The common diseases born by mosquitos are Dengue fever, elephantiasis, malaria of all kinds and Chikungunya Virus. We also have scrub-typhus which can make your life rather bothersome, or kill you.
- CLOTHES TO WEAR : You will often hear – wear long trousers & long sleeved shirts to protect yourselves from mosquitos. HOWEVER, it can be VERY humid & hot here! You are better to wear light shorts, short sleeve shirts or loose t-shirts, and wear insect repellant to protect your exposed parts. Don’t bring heavy shoes – flip flops(jandals); sandals;light walking shoes are all good. Sunhats.
- INTERNET – there is no wifi available but you can buy prepaid Sim Cards at the 7/11 Shop in Sai Yok, which is half an hour’s drive away. You need a DTAC card.
- PASSPORTS – Because we’re on the border, you must carry your passport at all times when out.
- VISAS – Thailand has a 30 day tourist visa. It is VERY IMPORTANT as a volunteer that you come in under a TOURIST VISA. Do NOT put WORK as your main reason for coming. (you are not getting paid). Thailand is changing its policies regarding Tourist Visas, so if you intend to stay longer, please contact Cat about latest requirements.
- DRINKING WATER : We have a water cooler with distilled water that you can refill your water bottles with.
- INTERNATIONAL DRIVING LICENCE : This can be handy to have as sometimes the children need to be driven to school. The vehicle is a manual (stick) vehicle.
- DAILY GENERAL ROUTINE :
- Monday to Thursday
– 5.30am Worship
– 6 am Breakfast & children do jobs & get ready for school
– 7 am Children leave for school
– 7 am to 3.30pm, children at school. Volunteers help as needed.
– 3.30 pm Children picked up from school
– 4pm – 4.30 pm. Children have jobs to do. Volunteers are to make sure they are done BEFORE the children can play. (list of jobs in kitchen)
– 4.30pm – 5.30pm Children may play, have downtime, do homework as long as their jobs are done.
– 5.30 pm Tea
– 6.00 pm – 6.30 pm Worship
– 7 pm – 7.45 pm English lessons in smaller groups. Volunteers, depending on their skills, are expected to help with these lessons. There is variety in these lessons depending who is here. For example, a mechanic could take apart a lawnmower with some boys, learning English names at the same time. (as long as they put it back together again!) Other classes will be basic A B C (with as much fun & variety as possible)
- Friday – as above, except that after tea the children will go in to the village and sing to families. After they come back, we all share bread & drink together & have worship together.
- Saturday – On Saturday, we celebrate the Sabbath (Shabbat).
– 7 am Worship & Breakfast
– 9am we have worship by the lake.
– 12pm – 2.30pm Lunch & free time.
Often children will go and visit their families.
– 2.30 – 5.30pm We give back to the community, either doing medical checks, giving gifts, playing with the children.
– 5.30 pm Tea with fun night (eg. DVD night, Games night)
- Sunday – 7 am Worship & Breakfast. Children work all morning.
– Afternoon – free time for all. Games. Relax.
There are four primitive bamboo huts with grass roofs, for volunteers. These are -2 star! They are basic facilities that have either a double or 2 single beds in each. One hut has 2 beds in it, another has 1 double & 1 single(mosquito nets & sheets & blankets supplied) & 3 have showers(cold water only 🙂 ) It will depend how many volunteers are here, as to which hut you are allocated.
Toilets – Thailand does not have a good sewage system like Western countries. It is very important to know that you cannot put toilet paper, sanitary pads, or tampons down the toilet as it will block the pipes. If you block it, then you also unblock it. There are rubbish bins provided. 🙂
When you leave, please remove the linen off your bed, wash them as well as any towels used, and remake the bed with fresh linen. Remove all rubbish, and sweep floors, leaving it spotless for next visitors.
- there are a few single shops within walking distance for small basics (eg shampoo/milk). There is a small market on Thursday from 5am – 7 am.
- closest town is Sai Yok, approximately 1/2 hour drive away, with a few more shops
- Kanchananburi is closest city, approx 1 hour’s drive away.
GIFTS FOR CHILDREN
- we often get asked what gifts you can bring for the children. Our children are not like western children, who get given individual presents & “fight” over them. You are better to bring a game that a group of children can play. e.g.. Jenga.
- DON’T bring toys with batteries.
There are opportunities to sponsor children at the school. Please ask Cat about this.
DIRECTIONS TO BAMBOO SCHOOL
Bamboo School is located about 4 hours West of Bangkok in the resort area of Kanchanaburi.
PLAN A: Train. This is the famous “Death Railway” train built by POW’s in WWII. It’s a bit slower than the other methods, but quite a bit more scenic and historical. You can take a taxi to the Thonburi (Bang Noi) railway station by 7:15am to purchase your ticket. The train will depart to Wang Pho (Sai Yok) at 7:45am and arrive at Wang Pho sometime around 12:30. Once you’re at Wang Pho station, you can take the red Bong-ti (pronounced bonn-tee) truck to Bong-ti Lung or ask a motorcycle taxi or by previous arrangement Cat will pick you up.(and offer to pay for fuel)
PLAN B: Go to Bus Station “Sigh-Tie-My” (Southern Bus Terminal) and catch bus number 81, which goes every 15 minutes. You’ll not need to go inside the terminal to purchase a ticket. In fact it’s cheaper to just purchase the ticket on the bus. This bus goes to the Kanchanaburi Bus Terminal. There you transfer to the bus at Bay #7 (near the men’s toilet). This bus will leave at 10:30, 11:30, and 12:30 and go to Bong-ti Lung. If you’re too late for these buses, you can go into bay 5 and catch the bus going to Tah-pah-poom. Climb off this bus at Am-pur-Sa-Yok and negotiate with a motorcycle taxi to go to Bong-ti (normally about 100 baht). Vans are also available from Victory Monument to Kanchanaburi. These leave every 15 minutes, but charge extra for big suitcases.
PLAN C : Contact Catherine in advance, offer to pay the fuel, and if it fits into her schedule and if you’re staying for more than 5 days, she may be able to pick you up from Sai Yok.
PLAN D: Hire (rent) a car or minivan from the Ekamai International School for 4,000 Baht (about US$105.00) with a driver, door-to-door. Check their website: www. ekamai.int.schoolwebpages.com
MEDICAL SERVICES: Under the Sai Yok Government Hospital, we have a small village first aid post. Wounds are dressed, medical advice is given & referrals to the bigger hospitals are made. Bamboo School have skilled medical staff. We run the ambulance service and Basic Life Support (BLS) unit under the Pitakkarn Foundation. Cat is First Response Emergency in the area and so is on call 24/7, meaning that she can often get a call out in the middle of the night – or anytime.
FLORA AND FAUNA: There are 4 types of poisonous snakes in this area. Anti-toxins are available at Sai Yok. Don’t panic, stay still and call out. The kids can identify the snakes by name, which helps the medication needs. A very good snake is a dead one!
Cute furry caterpillars cause skin blisters and pain. Therefore do not touch. Large centipedes have a nasty bite, so do not play.
Scorpions are similar to a bee-sting reaction so we neutralize them with liquid ammonia. We have large bush bees which hurt.
The rest of us are harmless heart breakers, especially the smaller ones. Please do not let them play with your cameras, iPads, etc.