August arrived so fast I almost forgot to post something. I volunteered full-time at a children’s shelter all throughout July with the exception of 5 days I spent in Thailand. I went back to get my skateboard, slackline, and some other things I wanted for my summer stay here in Penang. After looking at these photos I took while I was in Thailand you’ll see why I really don’t like leaving there to come here. The plan of coming back and only going in to volunteer for a couple hours a day completely failed however I feel that all the time spent volunteering last month was time well spent because the directors and I have been making a lot of improvements in the way the home is run and the way the kids are fed and raised. Moreover these improvements will go on to not only benefit these 30 or so kids but also any new ones that end up living and being cared for here.

I’ve been continuing my push to get them to eat better, sleep enough, and exercise more. We’ve been doing some basic gymnastics, playing badminton, and going hiking on the weekends however last week we couldn’t go because me and a few kids had to put together a last minute dance performance. There were 6 of them, all girls around 12 years old, and we had less than 24 hours before showtime to come up with something. I needed a quiet place to practice where we wouldn’t be disturbed and they wouldn’t be distracted by other kids and the big empty house that was once a preschool that I’m renting a room in was perfect so what was probably meant to be a living room served as our dance studio last Friday night and Saturday morning. We managed to get it done, barely, and do a show Saturday afternoon and afterwards I took them for some durian.

Besides the durian there are a few other seasonal fruits now available and yesterday I climbed up an ant infested rambutan tree to get some hard to reach rambutan. Unfortunately the ants inhabiting this tree were as brutal as any. It’s been over 24 hours and I’m still itching, burning, and pink in those areas. I’ve climbed plenty of fruit trees and I’ve been bitten by plenty of ants but never like this, these things definitely had some powerful ant venom they were injecting in me via their bites. While I was up there I felt them going to work on my right side but I just blocked it out and focused on the job of getting rambutans to fall on the kids below. I thought the pain would stop when I got down and brushed off all the ants which is usually the case but I was wrong. Next time I’ll stick to using a pole and a ladder and any rambutans I can’t reach will be left to whatever creature wants to face the ants to get them.