Name : Dylan Massey
Age : 35 years old
From : Australia
Period : January, 2 weeks, August, 1 month
Email : dylanmassey@hotmail.com

I initially discovered Isan Survivor by chance. I had visited Thailand many times and on leaving the last time I decided that I wanted to return and do some volunteer work. A google search led me to the Isan survivor website. After returning to Australia I decided to contact Jack and plan my trip for January 2013. Unfortunately I had just returned from a extended holiday of two months, so due to work commitments I was only able to arrange to stay for two weeks.

I stepped off the bus from Bangkok (which Jack has helped me locate via text message) in the early hours of sunday morning, bleary eyed but excited to see what the next two weeks had in store. Minutes later Jack was there to greet me and take me back to the family house. After a short rest I met the other volunteers and the rest of Jack’s family. Jack had organized to take us all to see the local pottery makers and we had a chance to give it a go as well. Sadly I failed miserably at making a pot but my plate looked ok. That night I enjoyed what would be the first of many great meals cooked by Jacks lovely mother.


The next day Jack informed me that I would be teaching at a small primary school a little out of town. While I had taught English previously I had never taught to young children and it had been several years since I’d stood in front of a class so I was a bit apprehensive about my first day. I needn’t have been as the children were wonderful, enthusiastic and full of energy. The teacher I was helping, Joy, made me feel welcome even though I was staying only a very short time. I was very well looked after and I felt quite humbled.

During my stay I not only went to school but Jack always had activities planned for when we were not teaching. Bike rides, planting fruit trees for the monks at a local temple, a trip to a nearby mountain and some great meals.


Once my brief stay was over I was sad to leave but I felt that I would be back soon as I realized that this was a far better thing to be doing than what I was currently doing in Australia so I arranged another stay, this time for a month later in the year.

Coming back several months later (August 2013) and getting off the now familiar overnight bus was a little like returning to a second home. Jack and his family welcomed me back with the same friendliness as when I stayed the first time. I also got to meet Jack’s wife Patricia who had been in Holland my previous stay. Much like the first time there were several other volunteers at the house which made the time spent there never boring.

Boat trip

This time Jack had organized for me to volunteer at the local technical college to high school and slightly older students. This experience was very different to my first but equally rewarding and enjoyable. Once again Jack had many activities planned which were all different to my previous stay and I got to meet the extended family of grandfather, aunts cousins etc.

After finishing up my months stay, Jack helped me look for jobs in the nearby area through his wealth of contacts and now I am living in nearby Nong Khai teaching at a local high school.

If you are thinking about volunteering I am sure you will have a wonderful experience and will be looked after very well just like I was.