Hello Family and Friends,
Yesterday was our first night in our homestay in Hua Hin Lad Nai. Alyssa and I woke up at 7:00 AM while the rest of our family was up with the sunrise. I was not used to sleeping here because the temperature was different then our other nights (it’s much cooler).
When I woke up this morning it was from having the window open in because we were up in the highlands. My three blankets were not enough to sustain my warmth. After getting ready in the morning, we met our family in the kitchen for breakfast. We had beef noodles, eggs and sausages for breakfast and it was also packed for lunch for our trek.
On the trek, it was a rollercoaster of physical energy from me. In the beginning, it was very flat and we learned a lot about the birthing ceremony, the graveyard, the biggest tree, and the honey farm. It was fascinating how they were able to utilize the space without destroying forest around them. Then we begin to go on the uphill part of the hike, my legs were very sore while I dragged everyone else behind me.
We visited An’s family rice field where we learned how highland rice was farmed differently than lowland rice. From what we learned of rice vs wheat people, it required less interdependence. Then after reaching the top of the mountain and saw the other village that was 3 kilometers away before heading back down to the village.
We got free time to do our own things before the youth panel and even with my expectations to utilize the time, I ended up falling asleep for 3 of the 4 hours before heading to take a shower. Then we had a talk to the leader of the youth group, Dao Jai, who gave us insight about bringing technology and knowledge to the youth of the community. After our talk, we returned to the kitchen to have dinner with our host family.
When Gai and Jess came around to check in with us, Alyssa and I were able to have a very powerful conversation with my host mother and Dao Jai. We talked a lot about their life in the village but also answering their questions about American culture. It made me realize how little information they had about where we are from since they are more disconnected with the outside world. My host mother thought that Americans only ate bread. I realized how important it is to be able to communicate with different communities because there is so much knowledge that we have to share about the different cultures we come from.
In a way, it frustrates me that I am not able to interact more with my family since there is so much to share. But the experience overall has taught me to a lot about the hierarchy of elders, embracing my culture, and living simply. Tomorrow we will be leaving Hua Hin Lad Nai and traveling to our next village called Mae Tha where we will learn about lowland organic farming, education and healthcare in Thailand.