after working through thursday, we had a day off to relax and headed off to the beach. we took a small boat (scary lil wooden boat with a full sized v6 strapped on the back with a driveline coming out the back, with an attached propeller) to a small island between the island that we are on and Phuket...called koh kai. it was a tiny island with some nice sand and some decent snorkelling. there were actual coral reefs here with some fun fish. i saw a flute fish and a few puffer fish. i went snorkelling with paula from the thai LA team and one of the construction guys that we have been working with (his name is dua). he took us around about half of the island, with a stop midway, where he informed us that we might see sharks on the second half of the journey. it was a good time, but we did not see any sharks. the water was extra salty and warm, with an extra hot sun to encourage those who were seeking sun to head to the water.
needless to say, i received quite a sunburn, even with the four or so layers of sunscreen that i applied during our short stint on the island (from 9-130). today is our second day of work since the play day and it has been increasingly hotter as the days go by. the hottest day before the play day (based on my timex watch thermometer) was 114. i'm not sure if that takes the humidity into account or not, but yesterday, we hit 118 and today, the watch gave me a series of --- where the numbers normally would be. i'm guessing that means that the watch maxxed out, seeing as how that is often considered to be the borderline between normal hot weather and extremely hot weather. anyhow, later on, the temperature cooled down and came back as 120 on my watch. i think that i have mostly acclimatized and i think the only residual affects are that i get tired easily, am constantly sweating and constantly in need of water and breaks.
so...on an internal level, life has been a little crazy. i think that i was not sure what to expect as far as what the mission entailed from the get go and that really left me confused. i must explain...the basis of our mission here in koh yao is that we are building an orphanage/school/community center (different rooms for different aspects and the school part doubles as a community center at night). so that is the physical justification as for why we are here. we are working under the umbrella of the sustainable development research foundation with a part of our church outreach group called xealot (this project is a partnership between the SDRF and xealot). the sdrf is a non christian organization that just happens to employ almost all christians (if it were founded as a christian organization, they would not have access to as many of the different areas in thailand, as they are primarily buddhist or muslim). the SDRF works to improve the economic structure of areas that are in need (such as southern thailand after the tsunami) and uses that arm of outreach to show the people God's love and also their love for eachother as they serve the various communities. xealot is the christian outreach arm of our church, in which, we currently have 8 people who are in thailand for long term missions projects (2yr stints). so.........having thrown down that haphazard background, we are here to build a building to help the economic situation of this area. we are not here to prostheletize (sp?) to the people, but to serve them and to build relationships with the community under the umbrella that our long term folks can build on as they interact with the people in the area more and more. so...it took me a few days to prioritize my time here and really figure out what i was supposed to do. day 1, i was all about getting as much done that would get the building up as fast and efficiently as possible. that soon proved to be futile, as the thai workers are paid on a daily basis, so they are really in no hurry to get the job done (i would not expect anything else). so anyhow...i have finally settled my differences with my work ethics and my spirituality and found a level ground that sits between the physical work and actually building the relationships.
...more to come...