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Sangklaburi - Sanepong - Laiwo - Jakae - Lay Tong Ku - Pueng Klueng jungle walk & Karen village homestay: 11 - 17 April 2007
After passing noon it became hotter. Forest burning were seen here and there. We had fruit and drinking water with electrolites to refill energy and minerals lost in sweating. Light clothing, and backpack that allows air pass between it and your back are very much precious. Never the less we lost no time for rest and eating and kept walking, albeit slower than we could in a good weather.
We arrived Laiwo village at about 2 p.m. Most of the adults were out in the mountain farms working in preparation for their next paddy planting season. The small village was quiet. After leaving our bags at the house for homestay, we walked to visit elderly people we knew from previous trips.
A village lady pounding paddy in the early morning. For many villagers most of their working time is spent for paddy growing and related matters. Paddy rice is their staple food and they produce just enough rice for their own consumption. Apart from that they have vegetable, some fruits such as bananas, chilli, bamboo shoots, corn. Many people chew betal nut.
Laiwo Karen village primary school.
On the trail to Thilaipa village. We left Laiwo at 8:30 a.m. and headed towards north-east. Half an hour later we were going up the hill which would take us to the dirt dry season road. Some spots were hot but then there were places where we had plenty of shade, thanks to the presence of large leafty trees. We still needed to drink electrolite filled water.
Newly built farm huts on a newly cleared land for growing paddy. Tribal peoples use slash and burn method to grow paddy. At first they find a suitable land where they cut the large trees and bamboo to later use for building hut and as firewood. They then burn the remaining (organic) vegetable that adds nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium into the soil. As well the buring makes ash which increase the level of phosphorous good for farming. The ground is used to grow paddy for one to three harvests. After that the exhausted land is left to fallow for many years to replenish the nutrients.
There are both pros and cons for the slash and burn or shifting cultivation.
Just after 11 a.m. we hit the dirt road to Thilaipa Karen village. The road links Thilaipa village to Sangklaburi town - but usable only in dry season by hardy four wheel drive vehicles.
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