The fish hatchery was everything I expected and a lot less. I won't go into too much detail because the more I think about it, the more anxious I get. Let me just say that the friend's dad made all of the arrangements and there were a lot of details left out (or questions not asked) as to what the boys should bring and expect for the week. Combine our poor preparation with the Thai standards of living, sanitary conditions & safety precautions and it could be a long week for the boys! Thank goodness they are there together - I would not have left Christopher if he were by himself - and I made it very clear that they were not to separate from each other for any reason.
They are literally sleeping in a shack but when I called it that, Christopher corrected me and said, "Mom, this place is a DUMP!". I hope there aren't any storms this week because I am sure the roof leaks like a sieve and even the slightest gust of wind would knock the building right over. I should have taken a photo but, honestly, I was in shock and trying to remain upbeat and positive for the boys. The shack sits right on a river bank and the grass/brush around it would have been thigh high on LeBron James. I reminded the boys a gazillion times to always keep the door to their room closed so snakes and other creepy crawlies don't find their way in there. The only positive about the sleeping quarters is that there is AC. There are three university students who also have rooms in the shack so at least the boys are not out there alone. Two of the students are from France and one is from Mexico. They are all doing research at the hatchery for their PhDs. They could speak enough English to communicate with me and seemed to be happy to keep an eye on the boys. Other than that, I have absolutely no idea who the students are and what they are like but that is another worry for another day.
I was told that Christopher should bring 500 Baht (about $15 USD) for snacks. I assumed there was a small cafeteria or mess hall on-site where they would take their meals. Not the case. There is a kitchen in the shack but you can just imagine what that looked like! In addition, even if the kitchen was clean and usable, the boys had nothing to cook. When I asked the owner of the hatchery what the boys should do about getting their meals, he said, "Oh, they can just hop on the motorbikes with the other lads when they go into the village." The last time Christopher rode or drove a motorbike was never and he certainly was not going to learn how to in rural Thailand. So, after we dropped the boys' sleeping bags and clothes off in their room, I took them into the village to stock up on food. The water in the shack is not undrinkable (not surprising) so we had to buy a lot of that as well. This week, they will feast on Ramen noodles, crackers, pretzels, goldfish and dry cereal. The refrigerator was full of sick fish specimens for one of the student's research project and there was no room for milk, lunch meat or cheese. I didn't even think to check for pots, dishware and silverware until I was halfway home and hope the boys can somehow cobble together enough to cook and eat for the week.
Christopher did text me at about 4:30 yesterday afternoon and said that they had just finished work and were in their room eating snacks. He said the work wasn't hard but that he was soaked. I haven't heard from him yet today and can't wait to hear how the first full day went. I know that I am going to owe Christopher big for this one!
Kevin's trip to Afghanistan seems like a walk in the park when compared with Christopher's stay at the fish hatchery.
Have a great Tuesday!