Hello family and friends
So I know I haven’t updated my blog in forever and I plan on writing a long post about what I have been up to the last few months including my trip to Mae Hong Son, an adventure where I severely overestimated my kayaking skills that ended with a broken paddle and much blood, the week that I actually became an adjudicator for Asian Parliamentary Debate (Random huh?!?), the Loi Krathong festival (some volunteers got dressed up as Thai princesses, my site dressed me up as a farmer), Father’s Day in Thailand, and the 5k I ran yesterday with 10 minutes notice. I also have a ton of pictures from all of these events. Okay that isn’t true, I suck at remembering to take pictures, but Carly does and I’m sure if I ask nicely she will share them with me so I can put them on my blog.
The reason I am writing this blog now is because I had one of those days where what I am doing here just made sense. I’ll be honest I have been down at times worrying about what impact I am actually making here. And then today happened, well it started a bit before today…
I teach at a small school here every Wednesday. When I first got there I was just talking with the kids about anything and everything and I told them that I liked to play soccer. All the kids started telling me that girls don’t play soccer in Thailand. The boys always play at lunch so one day I just walked out there and asked if I could play too. They looked at me like I was crazy, but they let me play. At first they would apologize every time they bumped into me or I got hit with the ball, but after awhile they seemed to notice that I was playing just as hard as they were and might I add scoring quite a few goals. After that the boys have invited me to play soccer with them every week for the last 12 weeks or so.
I also noticed that when I would play soccer with the boys a bunch of girls would come over to watch me. Then two weeks ago, after watching for 10 weeks, two of my fifth grade girls asked if they could play. The boys responded with the typical “girls don’t play soccer”. I stopped the game pointed to myself and told the boys “I’m a girl and I play soccer, these girls want to play soccer and they can play”, I was so proud of those two girls. It took a lot of guts for them to stand up and say they wanted to play. So the three of us girls played soccer all afternoon with the boys.
Which brings me to today. I came back from lunch and noticed a bunch of the fifth and sixth grade girls standing on the soccer field. I walked over to see what was going on and realized they were choosing teams. We had gone from “girls don’t play soccer” to a 6 vs. 6 all girls game of soccer happening at recess! I was beyond proud of these girls. They had decided that they could play soccer if they wanted to and let me tell you those girls played hard. They let me play too 🙂 Later that day during free period they asked if we could all play soccer again and leave it to these girls to march out there, kick the boys off the soccer field, and play hard!
I’m not sure if it was watching a girl play soccer, watching me not be intimidated by the boys, or just a girl power movement that was already in the works before I got here, but I am so glad that I got to be here to see it! I just want these girls to realize that they are capable of anything and deserve all the same opportunities as the boys and to see them feel empowered enough to take the field today, well I am just truly in awe of these 11 and 12 year old girls. Today was a good day.