|Amongst the amaranth.|
After I finished my TEFL course Tee and I went north to visit his family. They live in a small village, in the Mae Ki region, in the mountains near the Thai/Myanmar border. His village is made up of about 25 teak houses near a small creek.
|Elevated teak houses- photo by Ulla|
His parents have two rice fields, passed down from their parents, and I learned how to harvest rice by hand with a sickle and also helped bundle up dried rice using strips of green bamboo as rope.
|Bundling rice in Tee’s mom’s fields.|
|Teemoo (translation Tee’s mom). As a Karen parent, when your first child is born, your name changes to your eldest’s name +mom or dad.|
|I was feeling so proud, then I saw Tee’s dad double up the bundles and carry 4 at a time. I could barely carry two and keep my balance on the levees and walking the plank.|
|Bundling and hauling is very itchy work.|
We invited two of my TEFL classmates, Lara and Ulla, to join us a few days later.
|Lara took most of the photos in the posts so photos of her are very scarce- thanks for snapping this one Ulla.|
|Ulla has the most infectious laugh.|
We bundled more rice and carried the bundles on a bamboo pole to a staging area where, the following day, the rice thresher separated the seeds from the hay.
|Getting ready for working in the rice field.|
|Heading off to pick morning glory and eggplant for dinner.|
|The rice thresher made quick progress and was in a different field just a few hours later.|
While in the village we ate some of the freshest food in Thailand, truly farm to fork. We ate rice from the family rice fields (last years harvest) and an amazing fresh chili paste (chili, garlic, lime and shrimp paste) with every meal. We also picked morning glory and Tee and his dad felled a palm tree for fresh heart of palm. Tee’s mom dug tumeric and galangal for curry. Much of the meat eaten in the village comes from the jungle. I tried frog for the first time and a riverine medley of small fish, crab and tadpole. I passed on rat and jaguar.
|Sticky rice with sesame seed cooked in bamboo over the open fire. So they add a healthy dash of sugar too so this was a fun treat.|
|I was really excited to hold a WHOLE bunch of bananas.|
Lara is an amazing photographer. Here are just a few of her great photos with many more to come in the next couple posts.
|Teemoo picking chilies.|
|A portrait of Ulla|
|One of Tee’s uncles. His parent both come from families with 10 surviving children so almost everyone I met was an aunt, uncle or cousin.|
Want to know why I am wearing traditional Karen attire? That’s a story for another day.
|Traditional handwoven Karen shirt and skirt- photo by Ulla|