<< Read Part 6

 

In my previous blog post, I told you about my arrival at the organic farm. After meeting with everybody, I was assigned certain daily chores and an area of the garden, and then I slowly settled in! I've experienced and learned so much; I don't know where to start so I will simply make a list!...

 

During my stay:

- I learned that it's possible in this country to build a house for next to nothing, as long as you know the technique and have friends or volunteers to help you.

- I learned how to make bricks out of mud and straw.

- I helped build the future house of a couple of new farm members: we made the walls out of those mud bricks and mud/straw mortar.

- I learned how to care for and milk cows on a daily basis, thanks to the kindness and generosity of my cow boss named Rocky: a handsome and calm Thai man with laughing eyes and fingers that were bigger than sausages and able to milk a cow as fast as lightning! I was 3 times slower and I devoted all my attention to 2 of the cow's udders while she kept chewing and giving me skeptical looks... I think she started to like me better once I decided to sing at the same time.

- I learned a little bit more about permaculture (but not as much as I was hoping, I'd need a formal training to really learn!). It's a way of cultivating (and living!) with a focus on lost principles and traditions to recreate the great diversity and interdependence that exist in natural ecosystems. It works as a loop, where every component serves the others and it's beautiful!

- I ate like real Thais do and dealt with the spiciness that they're used to... Let's just say that I couldn't finish my plate most of the time! With a runny nose, teary eyes and sweaty forehead, I almost got angry to have to go through this every day.

- I learned that in Thailand, there are pretty black or white caterpillars with urticating hair…

- Thanks to those same caterpillars, I suffered from rashes for 3 weeks and couldn't sleep! I applied generous amounts of a green refreshing oil on my skin, as recommended by the locals.

- I realized, once again, how much I need my moments of solitude everyday, and if I don't get them, I feel odd and can't breathe right.

- I made new friends within a team of people all working in the same direction to achieve projects and I was inspired by the true generosity and open-minded kindness of the farm members.

- I noticed how work habits in the East are very different from the West. Some almost laughed at how I was eager and in a hurry to do everything! "It’s too hot to run around like that, take it easy!" And Thais often arrive about half an hour late on scheduled time and say softly: “oh solly (sorry), i’m a little bit late…”

- I witnessed once again how Thais are obsessed with food (like when you go to France and French people brag about French cuisine!) and when it's delicious, it's a good idea to say it: “aroy maak ka” will always get you satisfied smiles!

- I took part in the making of kefir, butter and artisan cheese: paneer and mozzarella made out of our lovely cows' milk.

- I watched the children of the farm: they are home-schooled and spend a lot of time bored. They'll play with a ball, a stick, palm tree leaves, banana tree leaves... They are the most creative and autonomous kids I've ever met.

- I learned a few more Thai words (but everyone spoke English here so my vocabulary is still very basic!)

- I was renamed Anchan, thanks to Pai. This Thai girl kept calling me Weko instead of Véro (like everyone here in fact) because V and R sounds are impossible to pronounce for Thais. She asked me what was the meaning of my name and when I explained that the Véronique is a little blue flower, she immediately exclaimed ANCHAN! It's the name of another blue flower: the Blue Butterfly Pea Flower that you can drink as herbal tea (purple blue!). It was perfect but it took a while for me to get used to it and react when people called me by this name!

I left the farm after 3 weeks. My heart was happy and filled with gratitude, I had learned so much and was so excited for the rest of this adventure! I had to leave Thailand a few days later because my visa was expired. I was sad but I knew it was temporary and partly due to the unknown I was about to face once more! So I went down the Mekong on a slowboat for 2 days to reach Laos. Laos, a wonderful country full of rivers and mountains... More about it in the next blog post!

 

 

<< Read Part 6   Read Part 8 >>

 


 

Many of you have met Véronique Laplante during her 3 years and more as Lotus Palm administrator and massage therapist. She is a dear member of the Lotus Palm family and we follow her journey with great pride and love.

She has graciously agreed to share with us her thoughts, experiences and photos while she is traveling through Southeast Asia.

We will publish her story over the next few months. Follow the guide!