Our long-time donors and supporters know Cat, the young girl who was our first scholarship student, and who has grown into an incredibly strong, bold, and wise young woman. We asked Cat to share her thoughts on how the experience of the pandemic and the lockdowns are impacting her, and she had so many gems to share on a wide variety of aspects. We hope you’ll enjoy reading her perspective. We’re sure you’ll be as impressed as we are with Cat’s insights!
“There has been a lot of change. Usually I teach, and I get money from that. I get 1,000-1,200 THB to cover the cost of my food.
When COVID started, I had to stop everything. I had to stay home and I couldn’t meet anyone and I had to get food at home, because there were a lot of restaurants that were closed. I had to learn how to cook! I used Youtube to learn how to cook the dishes I wanted to eat. Also very important is to have enough water.
For the classes, everything has changed because next semester I will become a trainee teacher, and they were supposed to have a meeting to tell me what grade I will teach. But because of COVID, everything has changed. If I know sooner, I can make the lesson plan but now I don’t know anything so I can’t plan.
At the university, I was supposed to take the TOEIC class, but because of COVID I [couldn’t] take the test last month, even though I’ve paid the money. Although this is good because I can have more time to practice, I don’t know when I can take it. If I have to take it when school starts that will be very hard.
One of the hard things is I can’t see my foster parents, I can’t see my sister, I can’t be around my friends or my boyfriend–especially my boyfriend because he works at the airport. And my foster parents are older so I can’t go visit them. But we have been video calling so I can see them.
I also had some classes online, where my professor took the video and would put it into Google classroom. It is hard for students who don’t have internet, because you have to have internet. Because you are not in the class, when you have questions, you have to wait for the professor to respond. In the classroom you get an immediate response. I am lucky to have internet and my teachers’ Facebook so I can talk to them. For some of my friends, they live in the villages in the mountains, so when they have to study they have to go to the school nearby their house, and they have to stay there all day to wait for the answer to their questions.
I feel lonely. I can’t see my friends, all my friends are at home. I try to chat to them and sometimes they can’t answer. I want to talk to them, but I have to wait until someone is free to talk to them about a problem I am having.
For everyone in America, please stay safe! We don’t know who can get the virus. Coronavirus has negative impacts, but it also has positive impacts. You have more time to think about what you’d like to do at home. Or for me, I didn’t know how to cook before, but now I know how to cook! I think Coronavirus can make people do more than what they thought before. People limit themselves, but because of the virus, you have to do certain things, and it can make people realise what they can really do.
Many people, because of the virus, are very stressed, and they get sick from the stress. But if you change your mind to think in a positive way and be thankful, and just stay home, that can help your emotions a lot. When I watch movies, I try to watch movies that make me happy and laugh. I don’t want sad movies or ones that make me feel down because I am alone.
It has also taught me to read very carefully. We have internet and the news comes many ways. I have to read very carefully, to see if the news is right or wrong or true or not. I have to be careful not to think too much. I have to use my judgement.
For my sister, she has no job right now. She’s usually cleaning the local temple, but right now she cannot work there or in the village. But because she grew up in the village, even though she doesn’t have money, she can still collect food from the forest, like bamboo and mushrooms, but she still has to pay her bills. But she has gotten a little money from the Thai government. But for me, I live in the city, so there is no food for me to collect, but I am so thankful for my foster parents and The Freedom Story for supporting me.”
And yet for all these challenges, she had one last gem to share for perspective. She says:
“All my life, people have looked down on me and said bad things about me, so I think this is easy for me.”
We aim to teach our students resilience, but sometimes they’ve had it all along.