The days at Tantai farm have become monotonous in a much needed way. The routine and chilled-out atmosphere allows me to really catch my breath, reflect over everything we have experienced so far, and (most importantly) really live and feel everything that is thrown in my direction. I know, I know, the hippies have gotten to me. But let it be known, I have come to fully accept and have adopted the cliche of ‘living in the now’ – and I am only moderately embarrassed to admit it. The ability to lie in a hammock – just lie there – is something that is immensly undervalued in our high speed western lifestyle and something that I am grasping onto while I can. I have spent a considerable amount of time lounging in the green hammock on the porch listening to all the cries and squeals of wild and domesticated animals alike. It is oh-so- be-freeing to clear your mind of all thoughts for a while. So, where ever you are in the world, take a moment today to really do nothing. I don’t mean turn on the TV, read a book, or even chat with friends. Sit and relax.
Now, with all that hippy bullshit out in the open, lets talk about life on Tantai farm. Yesterday we experienced rain for the first time since we left Seoul… And my, oh my, was there a lot of rain! The sky seemed to open up from late afternoon right up until our early bedtime. Thunder clapped, lightning struck and the power went. We rushed to cover up our prone tents, backpacks and clothes, but not before everything was already dripping wet… including us. So that night was spent in a slightly damp tent on moist mats. The evening was spent silently watching the lightning while some people danced in the rain.
After just over 2 months of traveling we have finally got what we set out to find! Organic farms where we can learn about permaculture and all its wonders. At Chwta gardens in Bangkok we really felt like we were learning, and I, for one, was beginning to feel like all my dreams and aspirations surrounding sustainability were finally peeking out from behind my many murky fantasies and becoming more clear-cut. If a twenty five year old can achieve a certain level of self-sufficiency, then my dreams don’t seem as unachievable as before. Here at Tantai we don’t get the same level of autonomy surrounding the actual farm work. Instead our tasks have mainly included the inane job of fencing in the grow beds with cement and bricks. All through this piece of work, Louise and I have grumbled over how redundant it is – for us, unprofessional and mere volunteers, to be tasked with something that requires quite a bit of precision. I mean, the final product, while I am very proud of my first attempt with cement, is nothing to dance around about. The bricks are clunky, ugly and grey, the lines are wonky, and honestly, it’s a waste of resources when you have perfectly nice rocks or timber lying all around you. Nonetheless, the eleven of us managed to encase 9 flower-beds in cement and bricks… And they might be down there again completing even more. I can’t be sure because today is partly a day off for me. I had the task, alongside another girl, to prepare the breakfast and lunch. Fortunately for us, dinner will be consumed at the market tonight. So here I am, surprise, surprise, swinging ever so slightly from side to side in a green hammock on a yellow porch with the mountains of Thailand behind me.
Later that evening, 10 of us piled into our host’s car (yes, that meant 5 people sitting in the boot of the jeep) and headed to the night market. On the way we stopped for dinner at a soup booth on the sidewalk, which was very interactive; we had to boil the meat and veggies in the broth as it sat on a hot-plate.
We then all went to the market where we shared various Thai desserts and snacks, including these lovely creatures:
After the market our host drove by a bar where we listened to live music over a beer – not a bad night to celebrate St. Patrick (not that anybody but me was aware of the day).