Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Well an adventure goes astray

It’s been quite a while since my last post. Since then I have traveled to Thamafaiwan to work on a farm up there. It turned out not to be the experience I had hoped it would be. I only “farmed” for about 30 mins on the first day. What it entailed was going around to villagers on our little motorcycle and getting seeds and cuttings and then planting them in this guy’s weed encrusted garden. It was interesting to learn about the different plants and which ones were edible, but I had hoped to actually get my hands dirty and do some hard work. The second aspect of the farm which I also had a brief encounter with was building earth houses. It was an interesting set-up which I was unable to really understand fully due to circumstances I will explain later. The “bricks” are made from different compounded types of earth. We used the broken bricks mixed with water to make the mortar and slowly built up the walls. The walls will be coated later with cement to increase its durability. The guy I worked with was selling these houses for profit but also wanted to start building them for the poor villagers. He wants to create a community based on Buddhist ideals, that includes living in a close community and having gardens that are natural to the environment.
I only got to stay at the farm for three days, for the rest of the time he dragged me to a conference to be the nanny for his kid while he was in meetings. I didn’t know that we would be gone for so long and only brought some of my luggage. It was disappointing that he fooled me into taking care of his kid when I had come through an organization that specifically sends people to farm. I left early because I really want to continue to look at land use and Buddhism and he was keeping me from this by pursuing his own interests. Nevertheless I tried to think of it as a learning experience, I got the chance to see how it feels to be the nanny of a child who doesn’t understand much of what you’re saying or care. I felt what it was like to be thought of as hired help and to skirt the outsides of groups and be at the beck and call of the father and the child for that matter as well. It was interesting and humbling. Being a foreign nanny is much more difficult then I could have imagined and I feel much more compassion for women who come to America for that purpose.
Tomorrow I am off to an Asok community which is somewhat like a Buddhist commune. There I hope to be able to farm and learn with them, as well as practice my Thai. Hopefully this endeavor will be more successful, but regardless I’m sure I will learn something. For now it’s time to do my laundry and sleep before I set off to a new place.


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