Hi there, I’m Juliana, the new intern for Jungle Life Camp in Khao Sok. I spent a day joining a Thai kids camp on their jungle trek adventure where I had the task of photographing them and helping out their camp instructor with any work. For you to be able to have an idea of what the kids do all day in camp, I wrote a blog on my experience with them. I hope you enjoy!
With a gleamy fog still present in the mountains around Our Jungle Camp’s site, preparations started early in the morning for the class of Anubarn Piam Ruk School, neighboring Khao Sok.
Khun Ta, in charge of the camp, warmly smiled and greeted me whilst bringing out school supplies and mats for the outside lecture section. I helped her carry out the school equipment and was then introduced to Ed, the guide and lecturer for the day.
Shortly after, the school bus arrived at Jungle Life Camp and the chatters of the kids in Thai filled the morning air with curiosity and giggles. The class shyly walked by me in a row greeting me with the traditional Wai gesture, pressing their hands together in a prayer-like form and bowing their heads with a smile.
Being the only ‘farang’ in the group, I already sensed immediate attention from the kids, having them smile, giggle and wave at me whenever I made some sort of eye contact with them.
After a short introduction round was made, and with my new nickname ‘Juli’ established, raincoats were distributed and we all proceeded to walk towards the jungle, which just happens to be right down the road from the campsite. Ed led us into the jungle, and only a few steps in it already felt like we were deep in the jungle, with plants and leaves brushing at our legs and the moist air encircling the air behind us.
Ed began by showing us the different plants surrounding us and specifically pointed at one of the moss-covered trees, explaining in Thai that moss has the most efficient air cleaning and oxygenating capabilities of any plant, indicating a good air quality (Thanks Ta for the translation!).
We continued the trail with multiple stops at diverse plants and insect homes. I was really impressed at how the kids were completely engaged with Ed’s funny and energetic personality throughout the whole trail; he made absolutely no space for boredom in his lessons of the wildlife around us.
Ed also used me, the farang, as an example for the kids to train their , and I would occasionally hear a “mind your head!” from slurred high pitched voices, followed with laughter whenever we came across any thorny plants blocking the pathway.
On the way back to the camp we were fortunate enough to see a group of monkeys jumping around the trees, where we stopped for a few minutes to observe them.
After an adventure-filled trek, and gladly no rain surprises, we returned to the camp and the kids had their first break, with fried white banana and cacao drinks as their pre-lunch snack, and a short nature documentary playing on the white screen in front of them. Once everyone was finished eating their snack and the documentary was over, Khun Ta put on some pop Thai music, and a few of the kids began dancing, laughing and singing together. It was super fun and amusing to watch, as some kids really started showing off their intense dance skills that no one had been expecting.
The day continued with us having lunch, which consisted of rice, vegetable stir fry, and salad. After lunch, Ed gathered the group to sit outside on the mats and began talking about the insects and plants we had come across on our trek, continuing his lecture by explaining the food cycle, which I could only follow to a certain degree by his drawings on the whiteboard.
You could feel the day fade off as the damp, warm weather pulled at our energy levels after an adventure-filled day. With the school bus driving up the road and the kids packing their things to head home, we ended the day at Jungle Life Camp by taking a group picture and waving our goodbyes to each other.