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February 2019 : MLC School, Sydney

Two projects, two weeks of service

Each year, students of MLC School have the opportunity to take part in rewarding community service projects. These offer students the chance to experience life in a small community while providing assistance on much needed building projects.

This year the group was split between projects in Mae Jon and Mae Lakhan, two small hill tribe villages. Mae Jon School located in Chiang Dao and Mae Lakhan School is in Samoeng, about an hour north of the Traidhos campus.

Mae Lakhan School

The groups that went to Mae Lakhan worked on several different projects, all of which will make a difference to the everyday life of the villagers. One of the biggest projects was cementing a multipurpose assembly and play area, which will be vital when rainy season arrives. The students were fast workers, getting through twenty-five bags of cement every day and found it very rewarding to see how quickly the play ground area progressed. During breaks, the MLC students taught the students English and also learnt from the Mae Lakhan students how to weave. They also played games and had fun together to ease the strain of some seriously tough service work. Luckily the pay-off was rewarding and certainly worth the effort.

Mae Jon

In Mae Jon the students built a fifty-metre cement road for the village. This stretched from the school to the heart of the village, where the road joins up with the pre-existing concrete road that leads out of Mae Jon. Previously, every rainy season the dirt road would become impassable for cars, making life unduly difficult for the villagers, especially when trying to drop their children off at the school. It took a lot of hard work to mix the cement. It also took finesse to carefully lay the cement surface and ensure it was perfectly smooth. All the girls got involved and they quickly learned many new construction skills and enjoyed playing with the local children in their free time. Fifty metres of road took almost ten days to build but when it was finished it felt like an incredible achievement. It was hugely satisfying to walk across the newly stable surface and see the villagers smile as they did the same.

On the last day, the students at Mae Jon and Mae Lakhan were both treated to a traditional performance by the local community. They were invited to dress up in traditional clothing and join the dances. There was also a small handicraft market set up by the locals. In response, the MLC girls performed a traditional Australian song and got fully involved with the dancing and dressing up. It was a fitting end to a fulfilling set of service projects.

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