Sunday, 22 October 2017

9th Week: Forestry Conservation

Sawadii ka, everyone!

This week's program was Forestry Conservation in Nakhon Ratchasima, where we stayed in the Greenway Forest View Resort, the same one we stayed at during the Buddhism Week.

This project was more of a gap-filler week, since I just didn't want to do other programs twice and wanted to try something new. Therefor my expectations weren't that high anyways so, I'm going to tell the truth right away, this week was definitely not my favourite and it wasn't crazy mind-blowing either.

Don't get me wrong; it's not a bad project but the amazing view is literally half the fun and I've obviously already seen that before. I also don't regret spending my week there, since it was actually quite rewarding, because we actually did some hard work and helped locals. Leeet me just tell you how it went!


Monday

Today the travel to Nakhon Ratchasima, for the second time for me, began. It was a bit different to the first time, since we had to stop at Singburi Immigration for some Visa work and then at the post office so I could send my letter for the election back to Austria.

We then drove to the Chet Sao Noi waterfall again and had a half an hour break there. This time we didn't go swimming, though, since the weather was quite cool and there were lots of locals at the waterfall, anyways. Instead we just walked around a bit and even found a Buddha tree. Those trees are often decorated with multicoloured strings, pieces of fabric and flowers. They are most of  the time really big and old trees and they are so important, because the first Buddha got to the enlightenment while sitting under one of those big and old trees.


After visiting the waterfall, we drove a few minutes and then got lunch at a small eating area. We stayed there for a few minutes and continued our drive to the resort. It rained a lot and I we wouldn't have been able to put down tarpolins on the sides of the car, we all would've been drenched.


We eventually arrived at the Forest View Resort and got dinner right away, since it was already 5 o'clock. Then we waited for the rain to stop and went to our rooms. 


I shared it with a girl from the Netherlands, who was going to be doing the Buddhism week this week. This time the room even had air-conditioning! The toilet wouldn't flush, though, and the shower wasn't working either so we moved from room 12 to room 13 and there everything was fine.

The whole evening I didn't really do anything besides writing in my travel diary, working on the blog and watching a few YouTube videos, before we all got ready for bed and went to sleep.


Tuesday

On Tuesday we went to eat breakfast at 8 o'clock.  Us people from the Forestry Conservation project (meaning the coordinator, a chinese couple and I) didn't leave until 9:30h, since it had rained during the night and the ground was still too wet to work with it. The project took place at the view point we went to the first day of Buddhism Week so we had beautiful surroundings.


At first, we all took a few pictures and then went to meet the master of the national park. He just asked us a few questions about ourselves and our thoughts on Thailand until a park ranger arrived.
Then the park ranger picked us up and showed us the place where we were going to be working this week. It was a green space with 15 young trees on it.


Our first duty was to dig up the earth around each tree and make a trench so that, when it rains, the water can get to the roots more easily. At first we had to cut the grass and weed with huge gardening spades and then, as I said, dig up the earth.




Doing so was really exhausting, even though the sun wasn't even shining and it was only around 25 degrees. I even got a few blisters on my hands because the spades were extremely heavy.


We did the whole transformation thingy with 7 trees before eating lunch, that we brought from the resort. It was just rice with some sort of vegetable-sauce-thingy. After a quite long lunch break we worked one more tree and then moved on to the next exercise.




Since October was the month Thailand's previous king passed away, last year, he gets honored the whole month. Thai people plant yellow flowers for him, so that's what we did as well.


At first we picked the dry flowers from the bushes, separated the seeds and then spread them around the trees that we've prepared before. While doing this, it started to rain so we quickly finished the task and went back to the resort.

In the afternoon we could've went to the market but, since I've already been there when doing the Buddhism Week and didn't need anything, I stayed at the resort and wrote down some financial stuff, wrote in my travel diary and also spend some time on my phone until dinner. After dinner I just continued doing the mentioned stuff.


Wednesday

Wednesday morning at around five o'clock, my roommate left to go to the temple, which meant, I had the room to myself until Friday. I fell asleep pretty quickly and woke up right before breakfast at eight.




At 9:30am we left again to go to the view point. There we continued digging up the earth around the trees and finished the whole line. My blisters from the day before were really sore but I obviously still worked as hard as I could.


It then started to rain so we just waited in the car until it stopped. After lunch we picked those yellow flowers again and this time I actually found a little snake in the bush! We separated the seeds from the stem and put them around the rest of the trees we've prepared.


The last task for the day was to tie together three sticks per tree to give it support when there's storms and rainfalls in that area. We had to tie them really tight and balance them the right way so that it actually would work. 

At first the park ranger had to help us a lot with the tieing pattern but after a few attempts we picked it up and we tied up the gallows frames for all 15 trees.

Back in the resort it started to rain like crazy so I just went to my room and stayed there the whole evening. I did go to get dinner, though. I spent the rest of the day videocalling friends before getting ready for bed and going to sleep.


Thursday

We left at 9:30am again to go to the view point. This time the car almost couldn't get up because it has been raining so much and the road was extremely muddy. We made it eventually and asked the park ranger what we would be doing that day.




We had to plant three baby trees around each prepared tree from the days before. It took us the whole morning to plant all 40 little trees.
Gao, the chinese guy digged the big holes, Christina, his wife, crushed the earth and I put the young trees in it and did the main part of planting them.




We then had to put thin bamboo sticks next to every young tree so that they would have support when they grow as well.




After a super long lunch break, we picked flowers again (this time without seeing a snake), separated them and distributed them in a flower bed, that one of the park rangers has prepared for us in the morning.

It wasn't even 3 o'clock yet, when our coordinator said it was "too hot" for more work so we had to go back to the resort, even though it wasn't even that hot. Back in the resort there was obviously nothing to do so I just sat in my room the rest of the day and read a book before and after dinner.


Friday

Friday was kind of an unfortunate day for me. We initially wanted to drive up the mountain to the view point again, finish our work and do a little tour to see what all the volunteers from the weeks before worked on but this time we really couldn't get up the hill with the car.

Our coordinator decided that it would be best to end the working/volunteering part here and end the week with a little bit of culture, so that the chinese couple, who was only staying for one week, could get to know it a little better.


We first went to the big temple, I spent a few days at in the Buddhism week. The coordinator showed the chinese people around a bit and I went to see if I could find either the two girls who were doing Buddhism week or the German monk.

First I found the german monk and talked with him for a while about my previous weeks, my next weeks, his hospital stay due to a injured foot and just stuff about meditation and Buddhism.


Eventually I met the two girls as well, shortly before we left the temple again. We then went to another temple I've been before. It was the one with the european master monk. There all we did was taking pictures and walking around a pond.
Maxime then called me and said that the group, who was doing the Buddhism week, had trouble with starting their car to go back to the resort so we had to drive there again and help them. We managed to get the car going again and went back to the resort to have lunch.



 
At 3pm we left for the afternoon Programm which was the same as the one from Buddhism week. First we went to a small street market where we got some iced coffee and smoothies.

Then we went to see the temple again and after that we visited the mushroom farm, where I actually bought some mushroom crisps this time.


The last destination was a view point where we enjoyed the mountain/forest view and took pictures before it started to rain. Back at the accommodation the rain became a really heavy thunderstorm and we even had a lighting struck into a lamp in the dining hall. After dinner we all just went back to our rooms and started packing since we were leaving the next morning.


Saturday 

This day was a travel day. We left the Forest View Resort after breakfast and started the drive back to Twinhouse. After about two hours we stopped at a gad station where we all got either iced coffee, chocolate or smoothies.

Then we had to drop off three people at Lopburi Busstation since they were going to go to Bangkok. For lunch we went to this one food stand hall again and after eating lunch we got some dessert at a little sweet shop.

We arrived at Twinhouse at about 2pm and I spent my afternoon doing laundry, writing in my diary and watching Netflix. After dinner I also skyped with a friend and then went to bed quite early.


Sunday

I didn't really do anything on Sunday. Breakfast was at 10 and during the day I just sat in the community area, talked with people who've just arrived, talked with the Greenway manager, wrote in my journal and worked on the blog. In the evening I skyped with some friends again and fled to my room right after dinner since the mosquitos were basically eating me alive.

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