In addition to spending my work week learning to speak Thai and teaching in a Thai classroom, on Saturday we have half a day dedicated to Thailand cultural and community related activities. The first Saturday in the village was the first day we spent with our families; the next Saturday we biked around our immediate areas to make maps of where we live and what was around us. Then we had “Thai Day,” which involved dressing up in Thai clothes, making Thai food, Thai dancing and eating Thai style.
Prior to Thai Day, each language group was given a category of Thai food to prepare and present. My language group somehow managed to get the category “kanom.” A kanom is a Thai snack, but usually is sweet and eaten as dessert. These were my immediate thoughts:
1) Heck yeah, desserts!
2) My host mom is a professional kanom maker, so she can definitely help us to make these.
Our group decided to make Kanom Krok, which is essentially rice flour, coconut milk, blended rice, salt and sugar. They are made as little disks and are sometimes made savory with the addition of minced veggies like pumpkin or Chinese chives. They were a blast to make and a huge success.
For Thai Day, we learned a Thai song, Dtaa Moong Dtaa, and learned a dance to go along with it. The song translates as Eyes to Eyes and is somewhat romantic. We also had an opportunity to see and play some Thai instruments. There were drums, sticks, cymbals and a gong. After we danced, played music and sampled each other’s Thai foods, each program group, Teacher Collaboration and Community Service (TCCS) and Youth in Development (YinD), and the ajaans (teachers) in two groups, performed. The Peace Corps Trainees (PCTs) did skits sharing different aspects of America. The ajaans performed some traditional Thai dances and a dance to Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.”
The day finished with everybody grouping off to eat lunch Thai style: on the ground and family-serve-yourself style (which most all of us do on a regular basis with our families.) Over all, it was great fun.