These next couple of posts I am behind on, but these are by far the most humbling experiences I have had on this trip. I am now in Nang-Rua, Khon Kaen which is 300 miles away from Pattaya. After a 10 hour bus ride, that had the coldest AC, that I thought It would snow, a taxi ride, then finally getting picked up, after I thought I would have to sleep on a bench outside a police station, I arrived to the small village on the outskirts of Khon Kaen, a province of Thailand. Tula and Vien, co-own a small 2 acre rice farm, with another family here, and they are also have a small farm where there House sits. The area I am in, is away from all of the popular tourist destinations, so I am really experiencing Thailand for what it is, and not the facade that that the tourist areas pose. This is the most important thing I can do on this journey I am on. I feel very humble to be taken in as family and to be taught the ways of a simple farm life. My first day here, Tula showed me around the local village, introducing me to all of his friends. I met local farmers working on a rice farm near by, then we had fresh coconuts that he grows. I got to try raw sugar cane, it is super sweet. Tula showed me how all of the water reservoirs are dried up. He said that “they haven’t had a drought this bad in 40 years and that a lot of the farmers are struggling”, and farming is how most feed their families.
There is a school right across the street, that has a football (soccer) field that all the local kids meet to play every afternoon. Everyday some of the kids come over and help Tula pick the Jazmine flowers to sell, then we all go and play some football. Tula used to coach football, and the kids call him teacher, but they are calling me teacher too, except they are all better at football then me, so they are the teachers, not just in football but how to be grateful for the things we have. When I was little, I was fortunate enough to have very nice cleats every year, and to play on green grass with nice goals, and these kids are so happy to be able to play every day without cleats, a dirt lot, and metal poles in the ground for goals.
Today Tula took me to go see my first temple. It was sitting on top of a mountain over looking all of Khon Kaen. There was groups of school kids running around the inside of the temple, going to each Buddha and praying, Tula taught me how to properly pray. When all the school kids where leaving there was a wild boar that everyone was excited about. On our way back we got kaw lam, which is sticky sweet rice, with taro, stuffed into a piece of bamboo and cooked over a fire, very tasty.
Tomorrow Tula said that it is time to harvest the rice fields, so that will be a cool experience. Yesterday he showed me the process of getting the rice we eat, from start to finish. First you have to plow the fields, plant the rice, wait for it to grow, then hand pick it, or use a tractor, most pick it by hand, then wait three days for it to air dry, then take it to a very old machine that they have in town, that takes all the husks off each piece of rice, then it is ready to be sold or eaten. I am very appreciative of everything Tula has done for me so far, and showed me, this will be an unforgettable experience.
Today we stopped by another local school and I got to take pictures with some of the classes. Probably shouldn’t be distracting them from an education, but Tula thought a photo would be more important. Lol
On a side note, the villages have problems with mosquitoes, so the government provides a service to help keep the mosquitoes at bay, by gassing out each house, once a week, with a leaf blower contraption that blows out a toxic cloud of smoke, that makes the house smell for a few hours. The good thing is, that is when we go and play football!
Till next time, Cheers!