The Daily Life of Volunteers and Trainees
You wake up in your room, mostly shared with another volunteer or trainee, always of the same sex. You take a shower, one room for females, one for men.
You prepare and have breakfast in our outside kitchen and eating area. Volunteers cater to their own breakfasts since many are not used to spice papaya salad and sticky rice for breakfast! Everybody helps doing the dishes.
Then maybe you go for a walk, cooler in the mornings, check your messages, read news, Wi-Fi available, or just relax.
Start working with our trainees,
9.30 am – 11.30 am
Mostly working on improving their English, focus on conversation. The more advanced trainees may move on to improving writing and grammar too. We like using role plays and also encourage trainees to create new ones in their own language, then translate into English with the help of Google and volunteers. And then practice, to show what they learned on Friday
around 12.30. Everybody is welcome to help prepare our lunch and to clean up too. We all have the same lunch, local food, some quite spicy, unless you are allergic or have religious reasons not to eat something.
13.30 am – 15- 15.30. Helping trainees with their tasks.
The time may vary a bit day by day but is spent on special tasks, projects, that trainees present to everyone at the Friday afternoon debriefings. These special tasks are normally given to teams and can be finding facts about a particular topic of interest, health, education, climate change, migration or local projects to improve our Center.
time' to keep the Center nice for all.
It is also BBQ time! Trainees and volunteers help, prepare the BBQ, set up outside offering tasty, spicy Thai style sticks.
around 19. Prepare, eat and clean up together. Sometimes volunteers prepare food from their countries!
are free. Walk down to the Saturday market by the river, to try local food, from mangoes and other tropical fruit, including the smelly durian, to grilled grasshoppers or meat.
Some visit Laos, with volunteer or trainee friends and some of us may take a trip along the Mekong river and stop and eat at a local restaurant or we visit the Mekong Aquarium with the Phra Beuk, the giant catfish, from the Mekong and the largest freshwater fish in the world.
In December – January visit the famous Million Water Lilies lake, the world culture heritage Ban Chiang, the Phu Wua Mountains with the wild elephants or go some place else!
More about our Center, trainees and volunteer tasks
Located in NongKhai, Northeast Thailand, known as Isaan, on the border with Laos by the Mekong River, an hour from Vientiane, the Laos capital.
How to get there see www.openmindprojects.org/volunteer-travel-guides.
Training. Welcome to our once monthly and free training days at our Center before you start if you can, www.openmindprojects.org/volunteer-training. If you come on another date we can give you a short introduction to Openmind Projects, culture and language.
On arrival. When you arrive our trainees will welcome you and show you around!
You can stay in one of the simple rooms at our Center. This is included in the donation we ask from volunteers and includes lunch and dinner during the week, see www.openmindprojects.org/what-you-get. If you prefer, we can help you find a nice guesthouse.
Volunteer Work. Our volunteers work with our trainees, who are 18 to 23 years old. The trainees come from Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. Many volunteers also work at a local school, temple or the juvenile detention center.
Volunteers with special skills and interests in IT, videography, digital marketing, social media, fundraising or curriculum development are also welcome. We constantly work hard on fundraising. As an NGO, our resources are very limited! Volunteers interested in farming, gardening or construction are also welcome.
About our trainees. Our trainees work on improving their English, IT and life skills. In the mornings they work on role plays; see this YouTube intro. Ask us if you want our PowerPoint presentation on how to develop role plays! In the afternoons trainees work on special tasks, preparing presentations for our Friday afternoon meetings with everyone. They learn about health and food, tech and education/jobs, the environment, pollution and climate change. They search online, discuss and summarize, make PowerPoint slides and videos to share with each other and online. They work in teams.
Our Learning Camps are designed in a similar way. We practice multi-learning by doing as we do at our camps. Read about our learning ideas on issuu.com/openmindprojects/docs/creating_learners.
At schools, temples and the juvenile detention center volunteers may teach basic English, practice simple dialogues, role plays, songs and games.
Free time. Visit Northeast Thailand and nearby Laos, try volunteering in a village. See what you can do at www.openmindprojects.org/volunteer-northeastern-thailand and www.openmindprojects.org/volunteer-in-laos
Useful NongKhai Facts
Places to visit
Pho Chai Temple. Mueang NongKhai
Sala Keow Khu
the River Walk
outside town and in Laos, ask us!
Taxi: 085 914 6748; 042 420 400
Tuk Tuk: 084 638 6290; 086 792 9084
Rent a motorbike: 042 406 717. = 150 baht per day. Prajak Rd
Rent a bike 042 422 666. = 400-600 bath per Month. 111/4/ Keoaw Woravut Rd.
Rent a car: 042 406 919. = 800 per day. Prajak Road
Bus Station: 024 412 679. 910/128-120/Moo 10/ Soi Sansoen/ Prajak Rd
Train Station: 042 411 592; 042 411 636. Mueang NongKhai
Post Office: 042 411 521. Mi Chai Rd
Travel agencies, many
Tesco Lotus and Asawann Shopping Malls
Thasadet, Indochinese Market by the river
Wat Thad Market, Wednesday and Sunday Markets and Saturday Market by the river.
Many 7/11 and similar shops.
Prajak Rd. Esso gas station. Behind Coffee Talk
Healthy Garden, near the entrance to Thasadet
Swimming pools, one at Royal Mekong Hotel, 3 km outside town, up the river, one at NongKhai Resort near the railway station.
Tennis opposite the NongKhai hospital
Jogging, badminton, skateboarding at Nongthin, water park
Big Fitness Center with gym, machines, treadmills, aerobics near the Openmind Center
On the streets
D D Restaurant on Prajak Rd
Daeng Namnuang, Vietnamese, by the river.
Indian, halal on Prajak Rd
Western, by the river and off Prak Road, many.
Coffee Shops: Cake at Toey’s: 042 460 191. 1135/ Mi Chai Rd
Coffee Talk: 083 456 0780. 932/2/ Prajak Rd
Pan Guesthouse: 042 420 421. 1066 /Moo 5/ Rim Kong, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pan-Guesthouse-Nongkhai/217839734949627 , popular, right on the Mekong river walk, not too far from Openmind Projects Center
Ban Mea Rim Nam: 042 420 56; 042 413 755. 410/Rim Kong, popular, right on the Mekong river walk, not too far from Openmind Projects Center
Mut Mee: Guesthouse: 042 460 717. 111/4/ Keoaw Woravut Rd
Pikul Apartment Hotel: 042 413 567; 042 413 568. 465/Soi Cheunjit Mi Chai Rd
Panthawee Hotel: 042 426 001. Mueang Nongkhai district
Mankong Apts, on Prajark Rd, 10 minute walk from our Center