February 22, 2003 - US Embassy in Thailand: Lori Mommaerts, Group 112, Kickin' off Lambeau Field

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Thailand: Peace Corps Thailand: The Peace Corps in Thailand: February 22, 2003 - US Embassy in Thailand: Lori Mommaerts, Group 112, Kickin' off Lambeau Field

By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 6:32 pm: Edit Post

Lori Mommaerts, Group 112, Kickin' off Lambeau Field

Lori Mommaerts, Group 112, Kickin' off Lambeau Field

Lori Mommaerts, Group 112, Kickin' off Lambeau Field

Children playfully screaming while chasing each other around unfamiliar poles and barely missing a foot in the face, as others are swooshing forwards and backwards on swings and laughing so happily. Those Packers fans who walk up the gate to their seat and love the overwhelming feeling of thousands of people who come together to support their team by cheering, wearing Green and Gold colors, and the anticipation of the kick-off, can relate to my experience. Arriving at school with the principal, teachers and parents were busy finishing the final touches for the Opening Ceremony and also making merit to the monks who were to come to bless the playground, "Lambeau Field". It was a gloomy, foggy morning and the crushed stone surface of the playground made it seem like a morning after fresh fallen snow. My heart was racing as parents & I watched students playing on the seesaws, tire swings, or just running around. Parents stood close to me, holding my hand, my arm, and just smiling. They didn't need to say anything to me to let me know how much they appreciated this GIFT. With the arrival of the monks and the district director of education, the ceremony began. It could've been the Superbowl for how jittery I felt. Students were sitting on the opposite site of the Green and Gold playground fence while the principal introduced me. My eyes became fixed on the freshly painted American and Thai flags and symbols, an eagle and an elephant on the side of the school building facing the playground. My community back in the States has definitely made an impact on this community, I thought. "Kroo Lori" I heard, oh, the time has come for me, as well as the education director, to pull the strings to unveil the sign, "Lambeau Field" Huay Guarn Rot, which hung over the entrance to the playground. Tears were forming in my eyes as I heard the monks chanting to bless the playground while watching the string gather the pink veil to reveal the Green sign with Gold letters. Fortunately, my tears were covered suddenly as I jerked from the unexpected water sprinkled, heavily, at us by the monks, leaving my vision blurred because I was wearing glasses. It was now my turn to speak to the parents, students, and community. (Thankfully the water left me feeling relaxed.) "Today, is a special day. (Tears swelled up again as I looked out at a teacher who was wiping tears from her eyes.) I am very happy to give a gift to my community in Thailand from my community back in the States. My community back in the United States cares a lot about me, like you, my Thai community. You have made me feel comfortable and at home. I think after I'm finished being a volunteer with the Peace Corps, I will stay longer and live here at this school." Before I could say more, everyone started clapping and I knew they understood my broken Thai. I continued saying, "Everyone in this district has been kind and helpful. I know I am very lucky. Enjoy the playground as I enjoy watching the students play in it, Thank you." Afterwards a parent told me he was going to take his child to play at the playground on weekends. No flashy lights, music, souvenirs, or food at "Lambeau Field" Thailand, but still the same sense of community. We will never know how many times Thai children will ask their parents, "Can we go to Lambeau Field to play?"

Thank you to my St. Mary's Parish and School community who has reached so many lives here in Thailand!

Lori Mommaerts, Peace Corps Thailand, Group 112

Lori Mommaerts, Group 112

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Thailand; PCVs in the Field - Thailand



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