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The following info is written by local volunteers who have had the opportunity to meet and work with global specialist, volunteers and supporters. These individuals have helped with many important community and oganisational development projects. They are interns and supporters of Mundo Exchange and our partners projects and programs.
Vanida has been a Mundo Exchange and Laekplian Lokgatat supporter for years. She is one of those Thais that has accomplished so much during her life; helping communities and individuals in need. Mundo and Lokgatat volunteers enjoy working on her handicraft projects and getting involved in many other programs she brings into focus. Vanida now lives in Nong Khai but was educated in part at Columbia University in the United States and in Thailand. She has worked and provided support for refugees and continues to help women and villages through her OTOP projects. Volunteers go away from her projects knowing they have met someone special to the world. Vanida has the ability to see the positive but know and suggest what needs to change. She was born in Bueng Kan where her father was a leading government official. You can read more about her life and also her work assisted by the Dooley Intermed Foundation on our Mundo site. Mundo and Vanida often share the same vision of the world and help each other as needed to provide better opportunities for the poor and undereducated.
Gretchen Davis was one of the first supporters and advisors for Mundo Exchange. Without her support, verbal guidance and questioning, Mundo would not have been formed. Gretchen was a world traveler and a mentor to Mundo founders. She helped us see the differences and benefits of creating an NGO vs. a Foundation vs. a small Association. Gretchen firmly believed that although the hardships of going through the steps to become a registered NGO would be great that we should attempt gaining NGO status without the assistance of a lawyer. We did and she was right, we learned through the process, and we made it by ourselves saving money for needed projects. Gretchen thought that one of the best things about Mundo was that it gave western people a means of thinking not only about themselves but about others. She also was a vehicle to show that most people care about helping others and not about money and possessions. Gretchen was never afraid to say what she felt, or do what she felt was right. She was champion to our world.
Eva has for years helped the Thai association Laekplian Lokgatat and Mundo Exchange. She was instrumental in helping Lokgatat be formed as a nonprofit local community Association and Mundo Exchange as a nonprofit NGO. Eva has given continuous guidance and support in many important ways. She helps Lokgatat members when they are experiencing cross cultural culture shock, when they need to have farang ways explained, when they don’t understand the ways of foreigners. She has consistently been a friend to all and supports many Buddhist ideals, individuals and community development projects throughout the world. Volunteers love to have Eva work with them on projects and so do the Thai children and adults she comes in contact with. Eva is now teaching in the Bangkok area and studying at university.
Boat has helped Mundo and Lokgatat volunteers for the past year. He was born in Isan and went to school in the Bangkok area. After completing his higher education degree he returned to his family and home town and now works with his mother, father and two sisters in Bueng Kan in the area of business . Boat has great English language skills, has traveled to many Western countries and therefore knows the ways of the farang. His great sense of humour and kindness towards others makes him a great supporter and assistant to Mundo and Mundo’s Thailand global Thailand partner, the Thai Association Laekplian Lokgatat.
Evan came to Thailand and interned through Mundo Exchange and worked with many of our projects in Isan Thailand. His past volunteer experiences include working with children at a educational program for the economically disadvantaged. His interest with volunteering with children from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds made him a successful intern candidate for Mundo’s Thailand projects. He also went to a Catlin Gable School that emphasizes volunteering and helps young students understand the value and significance of being a global and local volunteer. This is a world view Evan lives by. Evan is currently a student at Skidmore College in upstate New York. He took time off to volunteer abroad and learn more about NGO ways and projects in Thailand. Evan helped the Nong Khai museum when asked to translate information into English, helped Gyb a Thai environmentalist with building mud homes and other Thai eco projects, helped Lokgatat staff learn more English, helped to develop a home stay at a small Isan village, worked with school children, teaching them about eco and environmentally friendly ways to approach working and living in Thailand and much more. He currently is an advisor to Mundo Exchange. He is an easy going, yet responsible, giving, altruistic and tolerant traveler and volunteer of community development projects.
THE TALBOT FAMILY (Bruce, Silas, Cole and Jennifer)
Bruce, Silas, and Cole have been avid supporters of Mundo, both through their volunteer activities and their support of educational opportunities for youth in Guatemala. For several years they have provided scholarships to youth in the Ixil Triangle who aspire to complete their high school education. Silas has committed two summers to volunteering with Mundo. He has helped work alongside teachers in several schools in Guatemala, teaching English, Yoga, New Games and also provided physical labor to help in the construction of local roads, office buildings and computer rooms. He has become a welcome guest and family member in several of the homes in the Chajul area and is becoming an accomplished Ixil speaker. He has also gained a good understanding into the significant social, health, and political challenges faced by so many Guatemalan youth and their families.
Bruce joined Silas on the last volunteer trip. His construction, conversational and first aid skills were put to use on a consistent basis. Together, he and Silas brought down important medical supplies that were welcomed by local health promoters and doctors in communities that struggle to provide adequate health care to their local community members. Jennifer, Bruce’s wife and Silas and Cole’s mother, recently passed away after a long battle with cancer. Jennifer was one of our first supporters of the idea of foundation of Mundo Exchange. Without her support and guidance Mundo Exchange would not exist. It had been her hope to bring her nurse practitioner skills to the Ixil Triangle. As a remembrance, several of Jennifer’s friends donated funds to Mundo Exchange. This substantial gift has been used to fund medical and educational programs in Guatemala and Thailand. The Talbot family appears to have a special gift in the world of giving to others through their volunteerism and financial support.
Kelly came and helped Mundo Exchange and Lokgatat as a volunteer. Kelly volunteered and worked as an artist helping to set up Bung Kan Thailand’s first learning and cultural centre. She returned later after more travel through Asia and worked as an intern with administrative duties with Yoon, Nalinrat, Boat, Oum and Takaya. Kelly is one of the easiest going leaders we have met; she has the ability to work with a whole array of people from many cultures and backgrounds. After an 8 hour day of working to help with Thai projects and schools she would put in hours helping to teach English to young and old students unable to afford tutoring and also Thai government officials. Kelly would then return to her volunteer home and help prepare dinners for all with the help of her Thai friends and other volunteers.
Linda Danielson has been advising Mundo Exchange members evenbefore Mundo was l considered a non-profit. She is a former college instructor and musician. As an accomplished musician, Linda has played fiddle and music in Ireland, New Zealand and the US. Linda came and volunteered with Mundo Exchange in Thailand and used her writing and interview skills to learn from and teach others too. She continues to write articles and stories for children and adults that are learning English. Her next planned journey to Bhutan may bring her back again to Thailand to help with our many Thai projects and help her friends from the Thai Association and their respective projects.
Sandra has volunteered many times with Mundo Exchange. She hashelped develop Lokgatat projects related to Buddhism. She has alsohelped Mundo define projects with Buddhist nuns and forest monks.She has the great ability to give advice in a way that all cultures canunderstand and relate to. Sandra and her Australian friends have beeninstrumental in providing computers for our Learning Centre in BuengKan. Without her assistance these free programs would not exist. Sandrahas taught Thai children English and has helped with handicraft OTOP projects in Thailand. Her love of life and people is cherished by all theThais she meets. When Sandra decided to come the first time to helpMundo and Lokgatat’s Buddhist projects her friend, Gary, sent alongtwo computers for our learning centre that now are used freely by Thai adults and children. Later Sandra helped to bring more computers andhelped with providing the orphans with supplies too. We welcome her as acommunity development cohort any time.
Amy first came to Thailand in 2008 with Sid, after corresponding with Mundo Exchange about Thai orphanage projects. On her thirdtrip to help volunteer with the Thai orphans she agreed to work asour orphanage advisor. She now gives us advice and is available tonew and incoming volunteers. Amy’s easy going ways, ability to workeasily with all volunteers and local staff and to see the goodness in others, her generosity to those with little, and knowledge of how to deal and effectively work with all who come her way is amazing. She has travelled the world with her partner, Sid, and is a nurse in England. She continues to help our Thai Association members with their projects through her donations and contact time with us and future volunteers. Amy, Sid and sister Sophie are now all part of our larger Thai and farang family. Amy has also organized a number of successful fund raisers with Sid, sister Sophie, her mother, and a long list of supporters of Thai children.
David was born in Germany and has lived all over the world. He currentlyresides in Bueng Kan, Thailand where he helps teach English to young children. He is also involved in the local community life helping to tutor students after school. David is a Buddhist and helps the monks and nuns ata local wat. He has worked with us on many environmental and educational projects and with global volunteers who help Mundo and Lokgatat projects.David has also assisted with setting up our Culture Club, our Cultural Centre and plans to work with us on many more projects related to volunteering in Thailand.
TERRY AND ANDREA PRICE
Terry and Andrea Price have helped Thai orphans and our Thai projects for many years. They provide resources for games and enjoyment for the children of Isaan. They have organized fund raisers to bring needed funds to help the orphans throughout Thailand. Terry and Andrea are working to bring a Thai orphan to their home in Ireland while continuing to assist other orphans in Thailand. There love of orphans and Thailand and their hard work and assistance makes them ideal volunteers. They are always there for Mundo and Lokgatat as advisors for our community development and non-profit projects in Thailand.
GYB OR CHARLIE / TRITOS BUUNCHARLIE
Gyb Is an amazing Thai man. He has helped and is helping many Thai organisations, associations, and for profit businesses in Thailand. He is currently working on various eco projects, has designed mud homes, has taught at Mundo’s Cultural Centre, and continues to be a progressive environmentalist. Gyb helped to set up our first Community Learning Centre in Bueng Kan and has worked with many of our volunteers as a Thai host since 2008. Many of the volunteer projects he assists with are based on his belief that we should all work together to make this world a better and more peaceful place. Gyb also has taught Eco Projects at our Summer School Bueng Kan Learning Centre.
Scott is a community developer who specialises in computing and teaching. He has lectured in Scotland on various computer related projects and assisted immigrants with integration into their new communities and promoted active citizenship therein. He is an established writer and assists Mundo Exchange in many important and valuable ways. He came, taught, and gave concrete examples to both Thai and Western volunteers on how websites and web designers can be used to help and harm small NGO’s. Scott also gave lectures and classes on web design and community development projects leaving all of the Thai students wanting to learn more. He has taught village Thai people how to use WordPress and other Open Source programs. He is currently living in Thailand with his wife. Scott has the ability to work with great laughter and also dedication with a large variety of learners and sub cultures. His outlook on life and focus for the greater good makes Scott a very, very welcomed and valued member of the Mundo Exchange team.