Thursday, May 27, 2010


I am coming close to my one month mark and I have yet to describe what i have actually been doing here. Since we are the first group to work in Thailand we have kinda been the pioneers. We have met with numerous schools, hospitals, village leaders and other non-profit organizations to partner up with. There is a huge need for volunteers here and i have felt like i am definitely making a difference. Some of the major projects i have been working on are with Aids Access, DEPDC, the Isaan village and an elementery school. Aids Access is a NGO that works with kids that are affected by HIV. They are either diagnosed with the disease or their parents have died from it. Tomorrow we will be doing a full day program where we will be doing art therapy and confidence building activities. DEPDC is a group that works with kids that have been sold into human trafficking or are at risk. Yesterday we worked in the DJ station and then spent 4 hours sawing, hammering, and cutting wood for square foot gardens. Then i went to a school to help teach dance. A few days before that we went to the Isaan village and i did a photo shoot for some PR work to help the village receive funding for a desperately needed watchtower. (If you would like to help donate go to after Sunday. All you do is donate one dollar!!) Please think about donating! This community is working as a co-op, which means that they disperse their profits evenly throughout the community so that no one person benefits heavily. They have been allocated land from the government that they need to protect and observe. Its a really great project that if we can get funded will be amazing to construct. Everyday here is an adventure and i can feel more love from the kids and community than i have ever felt before. The Thai people are definitely filled with lots of smiles and have huge hearts. Today is Buddha's birthday so we are going to spoil ourselves with a little fish pedicure(fish eat the dead skin off your feet), go walk around the temple, and go out for a little Mexican. Can't wait to see what the next week brings me!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bet you didn't know you could ride a bird

This last Saturday our group went on a hunt to see if a rumor was true. Rumor was that there was an ostrich farm that you not only got to look, touch, or feed the big beasts but ride them. We arrived at the farm and were blown away when we were greeted by a bird standing a few feet above my head with a small thai man clinging to his back side. We paid 70 baht ( equivalent to about 2.50$). Our nerves were a bit rattled when we actually watched the full production. Bagging the bird was risking business. The ostrich ranchers would hook the bird around the neck and try to put a small green bag over its head which would supposedly calm it down. Occasionally the rancher would fail and would either wrestle it to the ground or recieve a nice kick to the gizzard from the bird. We were given nothing but a stool and a helmet. No reins, no saddle, just me and my bird riding off into the sunset. Well it was more like a gated ring in 100 degree weather. It was thee weirdest thing i have ever done! I stepped on a stool and literally had to jump onto the big beasted bird. Then i was given my reigns aka the birds wings. I had to scoot my haunches back so i was nearly sliding off the back and then was instructed to hold onto the wings as tight as possible and wrap my legs around the birds meaty sweaty thighs...gross. Now i know what you may be thinking i would be gently guided around the ring with a trainer that would have full control of this "thing" but no, I am in Asia, safety and controll are considered out of character here. So instead they gave it a nice whomp on the caboose and sent him off running, yes RUNNING! haha it was bizarre. The bird had a smooth gate and would stop by the other volunteers with me on its back to pose for some snapshots. I must say this one more time... this was thee wierdest thing i have ever done! kinda awesome, kinda hot, and my legs definitely got tired from squeezing them to keep me from sliding off. To top the whole thing off we were sat down for lunch and at least 3/4 of the meals listed on the menu were filled with ostrich meat. It felt a little sadistic/ almost cannabalistic to be eating something i just rode, and would be watching frolic in the fields while i ate my meal. I setteled for iced chocolate milk, toast, and a fried egg.... but of course i'm in Thailand and so I did it okay! I ate some ostrich meat...and well i ate some ostrich liver too. The end

Sunday I went out with the boys to do some real labor. We went logging for bamboo. I kinda loved it. Huge bamboo trees at least 30 feet high falling left and right around me. Trying to keep my balance on a hilll that felt completely verticle while trying to hack away the nubs and branches with my machete. After cleaning the the bamboo all up we would take turn tossing the 20 trees down the hill side. From there we limbered up and threw a tree over each shoulder and hiked it out. You can just call me Paul Bunyan from here on out.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chiang Rai + Ry

My bulleted update was kind of vague and boring so I will try to put some extra effort into this post to be a tad more descriptive. So I am living in Thailand if you didn't previously catch that. The city I live in is beautiful. Everywhere i look i see lush forests, mountains, and huge trees draped in flowers in bright oranges, pinks, and reds. I am still getting used to the fact that they drive on the left side of the road and the almost unbearable heat. Temperatures hit around 100 degrees farenheit on any given day with a large dousing of humidity. We have air conditioning but our hours for use have been cut down to only turning it on at nights. Our trusty fan lovingly named Tory doesn't do a whole lot for us. Merely lying your head on a pillow is too hot for comfort. Beautiful wats or temples are scattered everywhere you look with monks draped in orange silk. Everyone even the smallest of children give you a respectful bow when they see you. The food is spectacular ( even the coagulated blood and pig intestine aren't half bad). I live with three other girls, one gecko (Clarence), and my newest friend Toshiba the caterpillar. Our days haven't found a schedule yet but its been a thrilling ride. Nearly everyday we meet with new NGO's (non governmental organizations) or leaders of local communities. We have already spent hours volunteering with autistic kids, gardening in the Buddhist Temples with monks, did arts and crafts with kids affected by HIV, planned projects with multiple schools, went into Burma and met with an NGO that works with child prostitution and human trafficking, today we met with a rural agricultural village and planned construction and tree planting projects, and i was present with the prospect of living with some indigenious tribes for 3 days a week for a variety of projects. I have already found myself amazed with the Thai people and their love for their land, children, and for me. We have so many outstanding projects that we are going to start working on in the next few weeks i can't wait to get started!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A bulleted update

I am in Thailand. I am hot and sweaty 24 hours a day. I live in paradise. I love the food. Love the people and the culture. I also have no desire to write a long intricate blog so here goes a bulleted update of my first few days here
  • Saved by a good samaritan named Ken in Chiang Mai
  • bus broke down on my way to my city. spent a few hours getting aquatinted with the 100 degree weather
  • live with 4 girls on the floor in a tiny little place
  • no hot water...but really who wants that when your sweating all day anyway
  • thai food is great
  • Chaing Rai is simply beautiful. I have an inkling i'm living in one of the most beautiful countries on earth
  • Rode elephant bareback ( straddling its neck) through mountainside and rice patties
  • Learned how to make a toggle chain from James Bond at the Aids Access House
  • Got kicked out of playing with aids children early cause the princess was coming to town
  • Played with a group of shy silly outrageously cute autistic kids for a couple hours
  • Went to Wat Rong Khun Temple (look at photos online) so kicked out again by the princesses arrival ( i think she may be stocking me)
  • sweated some more
  • and i am currently enjoying every second here i don't think i could have chosen a better thing to spend my time, energy, or money on!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Awake and Expectationless

It is nearing 3 am and after the good ole college try I have found myself laying awake in bed for the last four hours.What a shame not to enjoy my second to last night in my billowy soft bed. It's probably due to the fact that I slept 12 hours last night. Either my body is brilliant and is trying to prep for my soon to be altered sleep pattern or the swollen tonsils and pounding headache did me in. Soon my night will become as day and day as night. An 11 hour difference is going to be some killer jet lag!

As this being my first blogging moment I suppose I should share what all this jabber is about. I am leaving to Chiang Rai, Thailand in a little less than one day. Through valid sources I have come to understand that blogging is for the real writer and Facebook would never suffice. So here I am, Ryleigh Allred, the flesh and blood one last time before I depart. I wish I had something profound to say but in all honesty I feel like I am just going home. After spending five months in China this last year I have come to love and accept the quirks, perks, and culture of Asia. However, I have repeatedly told myself that this experience will most likely be nothing like my days of teaching in Fuqing and am currently left with not a single expectation. You know what it feels good walking into the unknown.... but we'll see just how good I feel about it in a few days.

Walk strong soldier, over and out.