Experiencing the village life in Mae Hong Son

Posted: February 12, 2011 in random thoughts, travel
Tags: , , ,

Januaryb 6 -9, 2011

Our Chiang Mai Branch Office held their annual Donation Drive to the different hill tribes of Northern Thailand. I actually thought that we will go to the long-necked tribe (Karen Paduang) but instead we went to the Red and White Karen tribe of Banpabong and Banapupom villages in Mae Hong Son. Mae Hong Son is the most mountainous province in Thailand and is usually covered with mist throughout the year.

The Donation Drive also coincided with Thailand’s celebration of Children’s Day. Thais celebrate it every 2nd Saturday of January and special events for children are held throughout Thailand. I like a Thai saying that says “Children are the future of the nation, if the children are intelligent, the country will be prosperous.”

Dr. Jose Rizal, our National Hero in the Philippines, also said something similar: “Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan.” (The youth is the hope of our future).


The painful trip was worth it when I saw this pretty girl. I literally became her stalker and took numerous photos of her 🙂
Their classroom. This is not the classroom that I was used to. The same state also happens to villages all over the world even in my home country. 😦
My heart went out for them. Despite the tattered books and charts, they are still fascinated to learn.


Adults and children formed their lines to receive blankets, clothes, food, school supplies, toys and sports equipments for the school.

The kids enjoying the fun games and activities.
No doors, no electricity… just sheets and mosquito nets. I stayed here with my other 3 colleagues. The bathroom is beside a pig sty so I always here the pigs whenever I use it. It was also made from bamboo and the open slits made me uncomfortable since I can be seen from outside which resulted to my quickest showers ever! :p


The village has no electricity. It was engulfed in total darkness when all the gas lamps and flashlights were out. I tried to sleep it off when I felt I need to pee but I decided to just use the backlight of my camera and braved the darkness when I walked towards the toilet.

My foster mom. We do look a like 🙂
The villagers use glasses made from bamboo and that was what we used. It’s amazing though how Coca-Cola can still penetrate even the most remote locations.
I like this stolen shot of my homestay parents smiling to each other.
Some of the kids in Mae Hong Son. I do hope they get to live out their dreams.

The trip to Mae Hong Son made my body ached, thanks to a total of 28 hours round trip travel time by van. I also felt dizzy along the way because of the numerous curves. Good thing I always had a strong stomach so I had no problems with the food in the villages. It was actually yummy too with a “distinct” local taste. The homestay at Banapupom village made me relive the stories that my grandparents used to tell me when they were younger. Stories that depicted a life without the comforts of what I am used to today.

When I looked at the faces of the white and red Karen tribe, I felt that in a way they are contented and happy with what they have. When I looked at how a child finds joy over a blowing bubble or a tiny toy truck that he can play in the dirt, I felt their joy over the simplest of things. This experience humbled me. The White and Red Karen tribe actually gave me more in return.

  1. chajedidiah says:

    WEIRD!!! even if I edit it, the text wont change! anyway it should be HEAR not here for my photo captions regarding the pig sty…

  2. garnor says:

    weh grammar oc oc ka te?

    “Children are the future of the nation, if the children are intelligent, the country will be prosperous.” / “Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan.”

    – This is so true. Shaping the character of children could also mean saving the future of the nation.

  3. chajedidiah says:

    trying hard OC-OC lang :)))

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