Posts Tagged ‘ Fredkorpset ’

Home-Stay Experience- Back to the nature :)

October 2011

It was flooding in Bangkok during our Preparatory course; one of the worst cases Thailand had seen. Since, Fk Preparatory courses mandatorily need the participants to stay at local homes for at least two nights, our course organizers at AIT were in awe to find homes because of the flooding incidents. The purpose of home-stay in the preparatory course is to make the participants have the experience of living in the worst situation with minimal facilities; exposed to foreign food, foreign culture with minimal or nil English. All participants had to stay with a Thai family and would not be allowed to contact other participants during the period. I had heard earlier participants complaining that the home-stay experience during the prep course was tougher than their whole stay in their respective host countries.
Now, the usual villages for the home-stay were flooded, our organizers selected a village in Chochaengsao Province for our home-stay experience; only this time all it was not a home we were heading to and all the participants were going to be together. 🙂 So, all the participants got into two vans as we travelled to Chocheangsao Province. It was an amazing drive as we left the concrete Bangkok behind and into the green Thai Countryside. Wanakaset learning Center situated at Sanam Chaiket Chaochengsao is actually the name of the agro-forest and a network of agroforest practitioners . So, we were heading into a forest, private but still a forest. When we arrived there, we were awestruck. As we moved inside the forest, through a narrow track, we could see a modest bamboo hut perched into the wild and a stream flowing right below it. So perfectly in harmony with nature!
As we dropped our bags and looked around we saw that this was more like a camp, with two spaces to sleep (no doors or barred windows); all built with bamboo sticks and the amazing stream flowing right below you. Mosquitoes were there and we were warned about the leeches but well it was all part of this broad “into the wild” experience. The owner then welcomed us and briefed us on the basic rules. We were supposed to cook in shifts, there would be local help and we had to do our own dishes. We were also requested not to use our shampoo, soap, detergents and even toothpaste and were provided with more organic, non-foaming, eco-friendly alternatives. We were then shown around the land; the huge expanse where many tress, herbs and crops of ecological and medicinal values were conserved sustainably. Later in the evening, we were briefed by the owner and introduced to the story behind Wanakaset. Wanakaset actually means “forest agriculture” and it also refers to the farming concept which goes beyond agricultural production to look at self-sufficiency and the relationship between man and his natural environment and resources. The idea was practiced and preached by Pooyai Viboon Khemchalerm. A farmer by profession, he had been attracted to the cash crop production and chemical farming and its preliminary gains once upon a time only to be plunged into loss of fertilityof his land and severe debts. Then, he had accepted and submitted to the power of nature. He had then switched to sustainable farming practices or Wanakaset. The current owner, his son is also abiding by his father’s doctrine “if you take care of the nature, nature will take care of you.” A simple, yet vital idea! An inspiration for all! Continue reading

Homesick During Tihar!!:/

26th October 2011
It was Tihar today, my favorite festival. And I happen to be posted in Sri Lanka, from Nepal, in a Fredkorpset Norway Exchange Program! As much as I am beginning to love my new home, Sri Lanka with all its serenity and contrasts; with its warm beaches, its coyness; its spices and coconuts; the long names; twisty dialects; the artistic script , which I am yet to learn and the tyrannical heat; being away from one’s family is always hard. Especially for a girl like me who has never been away from home, it is painfully difficult. I was in Bangkok during Dasain as well, for the 19th Fk exchange preparatory course, but there were many others like me, my country people; who were also away from their homes; and it’s amazing how nationalities and commonness can bring people together. Though I missed home then, there were many of us missing our homes, so we celebrated Dasain together along with others and it ended quite well.
It’s not that people here don’t have Tihar. Actually today was a holiday for Diwali here. The Tamil community celebrates Diwali here. So, almost everyone knows what it is about. People were wishing me Happy Diwali and asking me about it. But since this is my fourth day in a new country, all alone, I decided not to try and celebrate Tihar here. I did try to find a temple here, but I couldn’t go by myself and others, who could accompany me to the temple; either didn’t know where it was or were too busy to take me there. Disheartened, I just tried to carry on as I would on any other Saturday. “Ra.one” – an SRK movie released today. Senali Akki suggested we go watch a movie and since it’s an SRK movie, I thought it would be a good distraction, if I again felt homesick. Just in case! So we went to watch it; first day, first show. It was a good movie, we had lots of fun. After that we went to have pizza and choco-sundae and then went shopping. So, the morning ended just like any other holiday.
Later, she had to attend a funeral. So, I stayed back and then did my laundry; did some for her too. And guess what? While doing laundry, my mind would automatically race back to Nepal, to my home. I would wonder, “my mom must be preparing Laxmi Bhog now”; “my daddy must be fixing the electric lights now”. I would force myself back to reality, try to focus on the laundry but then again my mind would wander around and I would think- “Dad must be tired now after shopping so much” or else, “I would be doing this now” and then again “I hope Babu is helping them, how can my mother do it alone without me??” And PANG!!! It struck there, right in the left chest and the pain, the agony; is so hard and so sharp that tears well down my eyes. The so called “Homesickness”! Not for the first time; but strong and increasingly painful every time. Continue reading