Recently, I got back from a four-day trip to Ban Tha Ta Fang, near the Salween River with my students at ERS. There are so many stories to tell and so many memories I cherish with the students! Before I embarked on this trip, I was a bit nervous and afraid because I heard that the village did not have electricity or clean water, not to mention mobile reception! However, bravely took the challenge of not having contact with the online world for 4 days, I received the best reward of friendship and nature’s beauty. The area belongs to a national park, therefore the forests are protected by local people as well as the government. It was so beautiful and breathtaking for me to see the rawness of nature after such a long time living in the city. The hills and mountains were all covered in an emerald shade and the atmosphere was pure and cool. The Salween River, near the Tha Ta Fang village, is the soul of life for people. It flows freely, carrying the natural fertilizing minerals on its path, and helps grow organic rice. People farmed, fished, and made a living while lived in harmony with nature. I got to see and hear how people of the village did low-land and high-land farming, as well as how they became independent and self-reliance by sustaining their food and water sources. Those stories really changed my mind about way of life in such a remote area. People here were not uneducated and foolish. They had a rich local knowledge and could survive without support from the government. The locals protected their culture and their lands for more than a hundred years. Most importantly, they fought for their rights and their livelihood every day to keep their traditions and way of life. The trip made me understand and respect a different lifestyle than that of my own. I also realized how much fun I could have without the presence of my phone!
Here are some of the pictures I took during the trip so you can experience to some extent the beauty of Tha Ta Fang village.