A Day In The Forest, Katrina Harrington
During my 4th Unit on Mining I stayed in U-Moong village, a village split into thirds on the issue of mining. There is a mine in their village that is contaminating their water supply and possibly damaging other parts of their land. I stayed with a family of Mango farmers, my host Mom and Dad worked in their mango forest and their 13 year old daughter took care of their 3 year old son while they worked. We took their old tractor up to their forest early in the morning and it was such a beautiful trek up the mountain. The weather got fairly hot, but in the morning it was cool and serene. When I was visiting, we spent one of our days on a bamboo matt, shaded by trees watching our parents work in the forest. I had ate a lot of Isaan food during the day with my host siblings, played games, took naps, and talked with them. The weather was hot but the shade of the trees kept us cool. It was such a wonderful day, it felt nice to not have any plans and just watch my host parents as they worked. It was so interesting for me to watch, because I had never seen a mango farm, or what goes into having one. I was really grateful they took me to the forest, because usually the kids stay home. The weather got fairly hot, but luckily in the morning hours it was cool and serene. We finished our day by having a cook out with some other families in the near by forests. I was amazed by the food they cooked, and how they cooked it all. There was fish, vegetables, and mango of course. My host Mom found some bamboo, cut it in half and placed the three fish in between the bamboo, she then tied the bamboo together with bamboo scraps. My host father made a fire and they put the bamboo with fish over the fire. The other families that showed up made another fire as well, the spent a lot of time trying to get the fire just right to roast the vegetables. All of the food tasted so delicious. I was very impressed by how it was all prepared and cooked. We had sticky rice, fruit, and noodles to accompany the fish and vegetables. It was so wonderful sitting with my host family having dinner, as well as the other people who came and joined us. There was such a lovely sense of community and a lot of laughs shared. After our dinner, we got on the tractor and headed home as the sun was setting. I couldn’t have imagined a better day with my host family; I was able to see what they do for work, their community network, their culture, and the love they have for their own family and village. It was a great opportunity for me to get to know them, more so than I have in other homestays. While on other homestays I always have a wonderful time, but my families will take days off work or do some fun activity, which is great, I just don’t get to see a glimpse of their everyday life, this time I was able to. I will remember my day in the forest forever!