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Day 4 – Thursday 16.11.17

05:30am. The daily rooster riot is in full swing. Everyday all roosters of the village seem to have an X-Factor contest from 04:15 onwards.

06:00am. I have found a fine spot to do my dawn tai chi exercises. The exercise doesn’t go too well. But the energy feels good.

08:00am. Our party of 7, led by Beaw, sets out for a bio-diversity hike. This is a search and learn walk. On plants, birds, insects, all. We view a buzzard on a dead tree along the road. Good omen? We arrive at a little river; prepare ourselves for leeches. Beaw makes a paste with tobacco leaves and some water. We rub on our shoes, put our trousers in our socks. We descend the river, face bright coloured spiders, yet no leeches. At a difficult point we have to stop. Beaw leads us away from the riverbed into the rice fields. Circa 30 Karen people are harvesting the rice, Beaw managed to get permission for us to try. All of us (Jaccob, Olivia, Mathilde, Helle, Jas, Geri) are assigned to a Karen, they teach us to cut, group and bind the rice in a bouquet. It is a very special experience. Being Karen for an hour. It is super fun. But burning is the sun. All Karen are fully covered (against the sun). We, naive westerners, are hardly covered. The lesson: always take notice of the natives. Observe and learn. Around 11am the Karen take a break. They share their pumpkin pieces with us. And their laughter. A little magic moment. After the break we have to go back to base. For at 1:30pm we have language lessons. The sun is hot, the road is radiating back the heat. More luck. A pick-up picks up. It is large enough to take all seven of us. Having the cooling breeze we surrender to the joys of an open ride. By noon we are at base. Another ‘moo’ moment. (‘Moo’ = happy). We hope to get another opportunity to work alongside the Karen in rice fields.

Geri / Kieeri (as Beaw would say, ‘mountain’ in Thai)

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