MINDFUL FARM

In Pang Term Village, Samoeng, Chiang Mai Province (northern Thailand)


A couple of months ago I got in touch with ppl from Mindful Farm, tip-off from Hart (the Canadian guy we met in Karuna Farm, India), offering our hands to work and to experience a bit of rural life in a secluded village of northern Thailand. Their short youtube spot looked very, very promising and it's where our fellow's first rice harvest took place. We got there easily, after 16hs train ride on a quaint train (from the first sight looking pretty cheesy, but turning out to be fairly comfy and with a constant service on-board = locals selling everything, at amazingly cheap cost), beautiful views, green fields and forests, outstanding countryside, all getting us nicely in a pleasant journey through central (continental) Thailand.
Anyways, we got to the farm pretty smoothly, taken by a yellow minibus in a 3 hours ride, through a thriving jungle. 

wading through the jungle first..

right there is where the farm lies
the outermost to the left was ours :)

We were nicely welcomed by, our subsequent friend, Facundo, Argentinean guy who had been staying there longest, back then (a couple of weeks). The vibe of the place seemed to be quite nice, although a few people left after a couple of days since we had arrived (or some who just appeared to be gone the following day). The place probably doesn't appeal to everybody's expectations, being very simple, based on cooperation and sharing, with a dash of spirituality, originated in Buddhism. We liked it though - more when there was few of us, less when we were a group of more than 20 people at the same time, but still. Everyday we were waking up pretty early, at about 6:30 am, starting with common cooking or picking some herbs/veggies for breakfast, which was always accompanied with a series of gongs announcing silent time to meditate while eating. Very mindful and good start of a day. The same procedure was followed during the lunch. In between, there was the working time, spent mostly on working in the garden, rearranging beds/terraces for planting, building etc. 

working hard in the scorching sun, relentlessly!

Pinan, contemplating his garden once again 

We even put cement in front of the main toilets and strengthened a wall inside of one of them. 


the whole soil-shelf was made by me and Jay,
not an easy thing ;)
We also built a compost toilet (a squatting style one, from the scraps) ;). Afternoons we spent reading and chilling out, recuperating energy before late afternoon yoga or cooking. 

yeaaah, we've got the bottom!
...almost


yeah man, that's how we rollin!

Ha! fits perfectly

others working their socks off, too...
Facu - our noble model :D

Every day was ended up by half an hour meditation and summarized by Pinan (the guy who, with his wife, established the farm) with a Buddhist' insight and teaching. All according to Vipassana meditation precepts and Dhamma path of living. 


silent lunch
dinner, non-silent at all :)

The crowd was also cool, we had a great time together. Days were very full and intense, I must say, but mostly in a good way. Each place has got its prons and cons, obviously, but we really enjoyed the time there and tried to learn as much as we could. Yet, because it's one of the voluntary projects, at the end you end up doing less you expected, knowledge-acquiring-wise. But still, we learned how long the pineapple grows, how and when harvest bananas, we would know now how to organize the space in “natural beds” and where to look for the guidance accordingly. We also actually got our hands-on, used available and forest-foraged materials to build something from nothing; learned how to prepare natural, liquid fertilizer out of fermented fruits (a great tradition, v.famous around Thailand) and how to make our own, clear soy milk and tofu (from the same soybeans) or how to prepare sticky rice, so common all over Thailand. 

'Mindful' kitchen

the cooking place,
stoves and pots boiling up!
washing up station
(using ash from the stoves)
freshly made mud bricks

natural beds in front of Pinan's house

tofu and soy milk workshop

milk almost prepared, yum!

We stayed there altogether 9 nights, scoffing beautiful and nutrient-rich vegan meals straight from the garden, 



taking nice strolls in the neighbourhood, eating bananas, lychees (tones of them..;)) and jack fruits (!) and its seeds, freshly baked, whole breads and, at the same time, hanging out with people from all over the world. Taking a piss of everything with Australians and Brits, having a plenty of laughter with Chinese (they take so many photos, of everything, at every moment! :P ), Spanish talks with the folks from Spain and South America (is always so amusing and atmosphere reviving :) ), finding out that Vietnamese are not that different than us in their mindset, and broadly speaking, enjoying every single minute – it's how our days on the farm looked like. We even went to the funeral, of someone from the adjacent village (invited by Pinan as a part of the community they're forming), which was actually pretty awkward and, I must say, I've never seen such a joyful funeral in my life. Monks very praying with their Buddhist preaches and chants, people got very drunk (boys were spoiled with homemade rice whiskey..), cooking and eating a lot, playing or watching Thai box. There's even a bonfire where we were roasting chillies on sticks. Hehe. All outdoors, and the coffin in the middle of all that. ;) The following day they burned the body (with the coffin) in accordance with their believes, in the same kind of mood, with fireworks and neon lights around (me and Jay didn't go, but some of the ppl went and gave the rest of us a review, pretty well depicting the whole scene). Astounding how different mourning OR celebration of death might be in different parts of the world! In our culture nobody could even think of something like that happening during the last farewell of one's relative (just in the movies, like “Death at a Funeral” with its black, English humor, I guess..).

At the end of our stay the vibe of the farm changed a bit, due to the arrival of a girl who stayed there before, who changed the structure of the whole group without actually becoming a part of it. Most f us didn't like it at all, and at the end 7 of us left at the same time ;) It was time to go though, anyway. It's amazing how quickly the time goes by when you have just a month in a country you're visiting. It's so little!, and you have to be fairly organised time-wise, counting days carefully to accomplish all you've planned beforehand without rushing up unnecessarily.

Picturesque surroundings, in Pang Term village:

other bungalows on the farm

that's a huge tree indeed
sunset... 
little Mr.Pinan's kiddo
those guys woke up at 4:30 am to bake delicious buns
for 7 of us before we left the farm,
 such a brilliant farewell!

 Next station – Chiang Mai and its surroundings (motorbikes and some excursion to look for).





Comments

  1. Wow, ale przygoda a podobno mieliście odpoczywać w Tajlandii ;-) A kiedy wybieracie się w kierunku Roi - et??
    Pozdrawiamy
    Rajscy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No niestety tym razem się nie udało, bardzo ograniczony czas nie pozwolił nam na objazdówkę jak w Indiach. No i odpoczywaliśmy..aktywnie:)
      Następnym razem miejmy nadzieję uda się dotrzeć do pn-wsch Tajlandii!

      Delete

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