The Karen people form the largest major tribe in northern Thailand and as Marita Lilley discovered, spending time with them is a privilege…
“On my Thailand Discovery trip, I spent much of my time amongst the locals and participated in various activities. I threshed the rice and pumped the water from a well in a local village, then joined the villagers for lunch and took part in their folk dances.
I visited an orphanage, distributed fruit to the children and played games with them. I sat on the floor with them during their lessons and at the end, I taught them a few facts about my home country by drawing pictures on the blackboard. We sang nursery rhymes with included actions and the smiles on their faces erased any language barrier!
Whilst walking through the village, a sudden tropical downpour descended from the heavens and we were offered shelter by a toothless elderly man in his primitive grass hut, which was surprisingly snug and dry. He had some kind of fire with incense burning in the centre of the floor and puffed on a pipe. He couldn’t speak a word of English but seemed to enjoy our company and appeared disappointed when we bid him farewell.
The entire day was an amazing experience. I really felt as if I had been part of their culture for a short space in time that would remain with me always!”
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* photo by Teresa Cinanni – Intrepid Photography Competition