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Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College, Australia

On 19 September VSP were pleased to welcome back Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College for their third year here at Traidhos. This year we had thirty Grade 8/9 students join us along with five teachers ready to embark on a week of adventures and experiences that would hopefully leave lasting impressions on both the students and all those they would work with over the week. This year Monte had two new locations added to their itinerary that were new for VSP too!

Wildflower Home

First up was Wildflower Home, which provides safe shelter, care and education for young mothers who are either pregnant or have young children. After a long drive we arrived at the home in time for a quick introduction to the history and work of the Wildflower Home Foundation. Following this the group got straight to work moving stones and gravel to create a new path that would provide a more secure passage between buildings after heavy rains.

It was hard work in tough temperature conditions, but in just under two hours and with the help of their teachers and Wildflower residents, the group had a good base layer down along the entire length of path before lunch. After some well-earned food and rest the girls split into three groups and began the afternoon’s craft activities: making jewellery, journals and bags under the careful instruction and guidance of Wildflower volunteers and residents. The teachers, meanwhile, with a bit of help from VSP staff and a couple of Wildflower residents got to work adding a second layer of gravel to the path in the afternoon heat.

At the end of the day residents of the home set up a small station selling some of the many sustainable goods they make on-site. Many of the girls gave the crafts they had made that afternoon to the home or simply bought what they had made as a way of making a donation. Monte also generously surprised Wildflower with a huge collection of gifts varying from baby products to clothes and toys. The Wildflower residents were overwhelmed with the donations and the impressive hard work that went into finishing the new path. Monte certainly went home that day knowing they had made a big difference to the lives of the Wildflower residents.

Sacred Heart School

The following morning Monte made a visit to their second new destination, Sacred Heart School. Located in Chiang Mai, it is a large Catholic school with over 2000 students and 200 staff. We were greeted with a wonderful traditional Thai performance from some of the Sacred Heart pupils, which Monte followed by giving a rendition of some of their school songs and the Australian National Anthem.

After the exchange of performances, students from both Monte and Sacred Heart gave brief introductions to their schools and school life before a short break to try some tasty Thai treats prepared by the Sacred Heart students.

Following this, Monte students buddied up with a Sacred Heart student to be taught traditional Thai dance and hand poses. This soon escalated, however, into a huge dance-off combining all forms of dance from traditional Thai to hip hop. Before heading off to lunch the girls were given a tour of the school and their impressive church by their Thai buddy.

It is incredible to see the friendships that can form in just a short amount of time, and we have to hand it to the Monte girls for being so enthusiastic and getting stuck in with every activity they took part in, as well as their impressive dance skills!

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