Songkran and Kitchen garden camp
Hello! I am Lee Min-ji who participated in this Thailand work camp. I am from Korea and living in Seoul. With one semester left until college graduation, I came here to have a meaningful experience. I'll tell you my story in chronological order!
The first journey of the work camp begins! I was looking forward to it, but I was a little worried because I came alone to a new place. However, I was excited to be surrounded by new things such as hot weather, exotic scenery, language here, and new people that I didn't feel in Korea, and I realized that I came to Thailand. I was really looking forward to do abroad during the long COVID-19.
Arriving at the learning home, I was briefly introduced to where I would stay and ate chicken and Stiky rice. Korea also eat rice as staple food, so it felt friendly, but it was my first time for Stiky rice. What was interesting was that they didn't add any substances to make it, but they made it naturally through cooking methods.
After the first meal here, I went out to look around the neighborhood by bike with Pi Tum and Te.
I visited a temple in the village and was surprised by the elaborate construction. We also expressed respect for the Buddha statue in the same way as the locals do. There was a really big and old tree, and through this, I could guess the history.
In the evening, I visited a neighbor's house and saw cows. Some cows were tied up, but in general, animals such as dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, etc- could be seen moving freely without leash. I guess animals in Thailand are likely to have a high happiness index. Watching them with animals gave us a glimpse of the lives of the locals.
I also visited a cafe in the village, and I was grateful that they responded with a smile even though it was their first time seeing each other. It was a little hot going around, but it was nice to drink a cool, sweet soda.
It was fun because many people showed interest and asked me for photos. Even if the language is not freely communicated, I felt that we were communicating together thanks to the bright smile shown by the Thai people.
At night, we bought had sausages and fish balls and went to the village meeting place. The water was a little murky, but it was the color of the surrounding soil. I also feed fish, and the fish's jumping skills were great. There were various national flags here, and I was happy to find Korean flag.
I sat around in a circle and mingled with the villagers. Each person took turns playing the guitar or singing, but I didn't know how to play the guitar, so I sang a Korean song. I was able to enjoy it because they reacted well with their dance. I also drank beer with ice for the first time. Thanks to the time here, I could feel like I was a member of the village.
One of the main themes of this work camp, Kitchen Garden, has begun. First, we went together to buy things we needed for gardening, such as seeds and compose.
Behind the learnning home was a space for growing plants. We arranged dry branches in a row, covered, filled with dry leaves and soil, and planted seeds by making holes. We also installed banners to protect them from chickens. It was meaningful not to use chemicals and to experience the hard work of farmers.
When I visited the learnning home again a week later, I was proud to see that the plants were growing.
It was also impressive to collect fruit peels for composition. Later, to prepare for the rainy season, we planted plants a little higher. The characteristics and climate of this area are reflected in the process of growing plants.
I tasted the organic pineapple that Patu grew herself, and it was very fresh and sweet. I will think of it when I back to Korea.
After that, he moved to another host family, Pi Mon's house. There was also a kitchen garden, so I could experience another type of operation.
I watered the plants every morning, and I learned how to spray water in the form of a sprinkler with a hose.
In addition, cucumbers looked a little different from cucumbers in Korea, and it was interesting to see what shape the same vegetables were in each country. I also got some cow droppings for a composition. I plowed the field a little to make the soil even, but it was not as easy as I thought. When I saw grandma who lives next door doing farming well, I thought it was amazing. I also want to grow plants later and live full of energy even if I get older.
One of the big reasons why I decided to come to Thailand during this period was Songkran. It was actually when I was in middle school that I got to know Songkran. There was a homework to research about the world festival and I flund Songkran because it was really interesting.
Based on that connection, I kept Songkran somewhere in my mind. Now, the time has come!
Songkran is the largest celebration of the New Year in Thailand. I was happy to celebrate this with local people. In the evening, I bought a water gun with Pi Mon & children and went out to Hat yai city. Pi Tum, Te, Pi Gate, and Popeye were with many people. There were so many people, and the loud music and stages from place to place were amazing.
Amazing Thailand, it was itself. What was impressive was that everyone was enjoying this time as one. There were boxes everywhere to refill the water and anyone could get it if they wanted. Sometimes someone put white powder on my face, and it was as cool as a herb. In Korea, in order to enjoy this kind of festival, it is common for only those who apply for permission to participate in the event at a designated place. I thought that what everyone enjoyed with one mind showed Thailand's solidarity.