Give and Take and Goodbyes

A lot of people think about volunteering as an altruistic way of helping other people.  As selflessly giving back to others.  While I do feel I have made a positive impact on the lives of others while at ARI, I have been absolutely humbled by what I have received in return.

I got to see these smiles.

I got to be a part of these friendships.

I got to see the creation of this art.

I got to hear this laughter.

I got to run and play and paint and sculpt and think and create.

These are all things that I received from my volunteer experience with Art Relief International.  Ultimately this experience has been one of give and take.  I know I have given the children and adults we work with something to smile about in their days, and they have given me something to smile about for a lot longer.

Thank you to all of you who have given me so many of these incredible gifts.

Love to all,



Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to the jungle! Last week at Baan King Kaew we explored our inner animals creating imaginary animal masks.

Each child got to pick a mask template of either a bear, cat or panda and then we told them to go crazy with colors and patterns to create their own fantasy animal. We had crayons, oil pastels, mosaic paper and glue for them to decorate their masks with. The glue got a bit messy with the kids used their hands to glue the mosaic paper to the mask. One of the kids found it completely natural to wipe his hands off on my arm between every piece of mosaic paper he glued, despite me trying to explain that we were going to wash the glue off after we were finished with it, leaving my arm covered in dried glue.. Next time we will bring glue sticks instead of floating glue but the masks turned out great! 

Once the kids had finished decorating their masks we helped them cut the masks out, punch holes and finish them up by tying string to go around their heads. 

When the masks were all finished the little, colorful animals ran out to their playground making loads of different animal noises. We played around with them until it was time for their lunch. The kids at Baan King Kaew are the cutest and we had so much fun playing with them:)

Peace out!

Ice Cream Flop

You know those days when nothing seems to work?  When everything you try to do goes wrong?  Well Tuesday's Young Lions workshop was like that for me.

Since it has been so hot outside, I thought it would be fun to make home-made ice cream with our Young Lions this week.  My original plan was to use the tin can method.  You put an ice cream base (basically cream, milk, and sugar) into a small can with a lid, put it in a larger can with salt and ice, put the lid on that can, and shake the cans for 15 mins.  The ice freezes the cream and the shaking churns it into ice cream.

Unfortunately we couldn't find any lidded tin cans in the stores we went to.  So we moved onto the backup plan:  The plastic bag method.  It's the same idea as the original can method except you use ziploc bags instead of tin cans.

After buying all of the ingredients, I decided to make a test batch to see how long it would take to make the ice cream.  One of the other ARI volunteers, Susie, and I stood outside of the ARI office for about an hour shaking and tossing the bags of cream and ice back and forth.  The bags ripped.  The ice melted every 2 minutes thanks to the Thai sun.  No ice cream.  

So I stuck the mixture in the freezer.  Not only did the cream not turn into ice cream, it leaked all over the freezer.  

At this point the Young Lions started arriving at our office.  I quickly cleaned up the puddles of chilled cream in the kitchen before heading outside, not sure what I would do with the kids.

I walked outside, feeling disappointed that my plan hadn't worked out, and was greeted with smiles.  


Our art director, Sarah, had improvised a water game with the kids using ARI's garden hose.  I am continually amazed by my fellow ARI workers' ability to improvise, create a playful environment and connect with our kids.

What began as a failed workshop turned into a pre-Songkran water festival!  Everyone got soaked!  Laughing replaced worrying about my failed ice cream experiments. 

Once everyone had sufficiently cooled down and dried off we all made an impromptu craft: coloring and cutting out animal masks!

The kids all wore their masks as Sarah surprised everyone with ice cream from the 7Eleven.

I could not ask for a better group of people to work with and turn my flop of a workshop into such a fun day!