Pun Pun Farm: a center for self reliance, my destination for the Latitudes semester of the journey and my current home. Life here is better than I could have imagined and is everything and more that I have been searching for. To my humble understanding and from my developing place in the community, Pun Pun is a place to grow and learn together through experiences that come from an organic, symbiotic relationship with the land. This idea manifests itself in so many ways, from using the soil to build adobe mudbrick structures, to using compost toilets and saving urine to add nitrogen to the soil; from using a solar water heater to make the cup of tea I am drinking, to keeping all kitchen waste and scraps to feed the chickens,which I take care of, and the chickens in time create compost that nurture the perennial trees, in preparation for their harvest during the coming rainy season. The sustainable principles the community lives by branch out into so many aspects of life.
After a little over a month in the community – my apologies for the late blog post Carpe family, internet isn't so easy to access from the rural Thai village I abide – my role in the community continues to develop and I am joyfully learning new techniques and ideas everyday. The food is always aloi mack mack, very very delicious, and much of it comes freshly picked from the garden that stretches out in organized rows right beyond the kitchen. We are currently working on a straw bale earthen home for the two community members. After pulling down then old structure due to termite damage on the roof's frame, saving all the earthen bricks, windows, roof tiles and electrical wires from the home in the process, we've begun to build their new home at an incredible rate. Lately We have been making bricks to connect the straw bale to the roof, which will be put into place soon. So fun and inspiring to assist and observe in the process of building an earthen home, a process I hope to create for myself one day.
I've enthusiastically commented many times on how unexpected the days can be here. I wake up in the morning and walk joyfully into the unknown happenings of life in Northern Thailand. Well yesterday this reached a new level. As we were walking back from the local reservoir after a mid-day swim during our break, smoke was rising from the hills to the left of the farm's land. It wasn't of immediate concern, for the past few weeks locals have been starting fires in the jungles to burn the underbrush in the nights when the winds blow up the mountains. Its is a cultural practice that has been ongoing for years and generations, the long term consequences, yet to be determined. As we turned to make our way back to the farm, we saw p'Tao a community member heading toward the smoke in a hurry. He shouted that the fire was coming down the hill toward p'Knop's land. We rushed after him, making our way through the thick jungles up a steep hill, to find several community members battling the fire creeping along the forest floor as far as the eye could see in both directions. I was given a long bamboo branch, freshly chopped, around three meters, and I went to war. At Latitudes orientation we talked about the hero's journey as discussed by Joesph Cambell, man was that archetype alive in me on this day. All afternoon we swung at, swept away, and truly battled the blaze that followed a line on the forest floor, it was nearly sunset when we fought it off and away from P'knop's land and that off a near by farm, saving the local community from the anonymously started inferno. In the end, it was quite fun, a day I'll truly never forget.
When I'm not fighting fires, hopefully that was a one time occurrence, I am tending to the gardens, digging new beds, sorting seeds, cooking meals when it's my shift, working on the earthen buildings, playing music, taking a siesta in the hammock, and having an amazing time learning and simply living. As P'Jon says, "Life is easy, why make it hard."
Sawadee Krop from Thailand, Carpe Diem family,
If you are intresting in more about Pun Pun check out these videos: