Project Report Toby Reid

In the Christmas holidays I went on a Round Square project to Thailand. As I am under 16 I was accompanied by mum, which Round Square has never done before. This was an experimental project to see if getting younger people out to places like this would work, aided by their parents.

After the reports from the project leader it will be running again next year because of how much of a success it was. The main aim of the project was to help the villagers of Ban Huay Khanun Sam get running water into their village. Their water source was 300 metres away from the nearest house. So the volunteers along with the members of the Pakanyor Foundation and some of the villagers from the Karen hill tribe built water tanks so they had easier access to clean water. We spent 10 days living in the village alongside members of the Karen in their basic and traditional lifestyle. The villagers were extremely welcoming and were more than happy to help us start constructing the tanks.

We spent the first two days carrying up the cement and sand to make the base for the tanks. We spent the next four days making the bottom two layers of the tanks. Once this was finished we collected bamboo from a nearby Mong village. They were very helpful with supplying us with bamboo. Then we built the scaffolding so we could make the top layer of the tank. Whilst the others were doing this a Pakanyor foundation member called Jaroon and I made the lids for the tanks. Once we were finished, the group spent the last day together in the village and saying goodbye to the villagers. We then left the village in the back of some pick up trucks and arrived at the resort of Ko Yao Noi. We spent our second last night there before going to the elephant reserve near Chiang Mai. We spent one day looking after some injured and rescued elephants. We spent the whole day feeding them and washing them in the nearby river before spending our last night in Chiang Mai. On our last night we had our last supper together as a group before we went into the night market.

The most meaningful moment for me, was when we all went up to the tanks one last time, and one of the villagers gripped my hand as hard as he could, and spoke to me in Thai, breaking into tears. This showed me how much our actions meant to them. I can’t say how much I recommend this project to anyone who really wants to make a difference. This was a great experience, and thank you to my Mum, Mr Ince, Jim the whole Pakanyor foundation and Friends of Round Square for making this trip possible.