By Bronia Greening
I was originally planning to go work in a school and orphanage in Darjeeling, India in 2017. I would have been working with young children and teaching them English. A few days before I planned to leave I was told by the people in Darjeeling that I would have to cancel my trip to India due to major political unrest: it was too dangerous. However, I really wanted to do more than just travel; I felt I had to give something back.
Thanks to Fr Timothy Radcliff, friend and priest who married my parents, I managed to find a school in Thailand that would take me in at short notice to teach English. The school, Nuchanat Anusorn School (www.nas.ac.th) is run by a Catholic priest. It wasn't like the place I thought I was originally going to; it was more modern and had more facilities. (Thailand is wealthier compared to Darjeeling). However, compared to other schools in Thailand, it was one of the poorer, and gave children free dental and medical care, something I very much admired. It was also a boarding school so children from the different hill tribes or neighbouring cities could attend. The boarding house was run by nuns who also taught many of the lessons.
During my time there, I spent a month teaching English to children aged three to 19. Although it was different from what I had originally planned, it turned out to be an amazing and humbling opportunity to teach and become part of a school in Thailand. I kept being reminded of the saying, ‘when God closes one door he opens another’.
Throughout my time there I was really cared for and shown much hospitality from people who didn't have that much to give. This experience has also given me an insight into the everyday lives of some of the young pupils, as well as some of the teachers who came from the Philippines. I have left this experience filled with gratitude and a hope to be able to do more work like this in the future.
Bronia Greening of St Alban and St Stephen Parish in St Alban’s was awarded £500 from the Catenian Bursary Fund for her ‘last-minute’ trip to Thailand ahead of starting Lincoln University to read history. For more information about the Catenian Association, visit www.thecatenians.co.uk.