A great reflection and video from Aminta on her expereince with the Dek Muk Ngai organization
I lead a small music group in Dek Muk Ngai. But what is Dek Muk Ngai, you may ask. Dek Muk Ngai is a local, small non-profit organization situated in the Nonthaburi province, just on the edge of Bangkok. Founded by a Monk, the organization itself offers free sunday classes at a community’s temple for local less fortunate children from poor families; some living in a divorced family, some living in unemployed households, and some neglected by parents. With the local community being full of threats due to the majority living on the brink of poverty, these children have a high chance to being exposed to many perils including drugs and substance use, alcohol, prostitution, and many more. Dek Muk Ngai aims to provide warmth, comfort, help the children to find their hobbies and passions, and become a beautiful distraction from the harsh reality that they are living in. Because of my love for music, I decided, along with a group of my friends who agreed to join after my persuasion, to introduce the art of playing instruments – the guitar and ukulele – to children with hope of them discovering what they love. I cannot begin to explain enough how significant my leadership has been in completely changing lives.
One noteworthy life that I have influenced is a 12-year-old girl named Ham. The relationship between myself and Ham began on the very first day that I visited the temple. Before her, I never really interacted with a younger person than myself, as I am the youngest in my family, let alone someone who has been abandoned by their father and mother. Ham was a fast learner; as I showed her the basic chords of C, G, Am, and F and a simple strumming pattern on the ukulele, and she seemed to be able to strum and alternate between the chords with an hour into the lesson. Throughout our lesson, her eyes twinkled and she beamed like a child unwrapping a present on Christmas morning. Come a few Sundays later, she was able to accompany her own singing in songs that were rather advanced and saved up money to buy her own ukulele. I never thought a girl could be so immensely happy about a small, four-stringed instrument. “Don’t your fingers hurt?” I asked after noticing her not complaining about the red marks on her fingers. As I pointed out, Ham grinned, and she responded “Yes, but I am still going to play.” Eventually, I realised that Ham had found her place. She had found her beautiful distraction, and I knew that it was the greatest gift that any girl in her place could ask for.
From the Dek Muk Ngai experience, my goals, my hopes, and my dreams for the future became more apparent. I want to be able to continue to make a difference in people’s lives by doing what I enjoy most and to be able to share it with the whole community. Considering that I am passionate about learning about the anatomy of the human body, and how I am vastly interested in the study of Biology and Chemistry, I continuingly asked myself “What is a profession that connects to what I love and at the same time, helps other people?”. Dek Muk Ngai introduced me to leadership, and leadership introduced me to Ham, who taught me a lesson, and changed my perspective.