Sorry if I seem to harp on this "small school out in the rice field." There are students in this class who are as capable as any Second Graders in Thailand. The "large" girl could answer questions in English pretty readily, and did very well in every game we played. In her row, from the left numbers three and four, are two girls that are highly intelligent, I don't mean kind of smart, they should be doctors when they grow up. They had English down, they could do more than almost all of the Sixth Graders. Every time I asked a question they would look at each other and nod their heads and smile, yep, got that one, and then take turns raising their hands to answer.
The quality of their education, however, is so poor that no such great opportunities will be available to them. Odds are, they'll be working by about fifteen years old, no more school.
This area is tragic in general, and ultra-tragic in many particulars. There is so little opportunity for the country kids with poor educations that a lot of the girls go to Bangkok, or Pattaya or Phuket to become sex-workers for a few years so that they can take the money home and buy a little market or something, not have to work in the fields. Yes, in Thailand the girls keep most of the money and can save quite a bit in a few years. Of course, some, maybe this is getting better, but some of the mothers of these kids came back home with AIDS, got married, gave it to the husband and maybe children too, and died. Lots of orphans at this school.
But what wonderful, wonderful children. If I were not so stuck in my existential malaise I'd do something for them, not just remember them fondly.