In mid-March, the students of the Border Youth Leadership Training Project (BYLTP) travelled to Doi Rai Pai Fah Village to begin a week of organic farming and Buddhist living. Doi Rai Pai Fah Village is a Buddhist village located in the Chiang Rai Province of northern Thailand.
For six days,the youth woke up each morning at 4am to participate in Buddhist prayer and morning exercises with the elderly. Some of the youth were even given the opportunity to lead the exercises! Each morning, a group of the youth would help in the kitchen to prepare meals for the day. Doi Rai Pai Fah Village is a vegetarian community, whose members only eat what they grow on their own farm. The community only eats twice a day, at 10am and again at 5pm, which was a challenging, but positive experience for all. Despite this challenge, the youth enjoyed the week with a great assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables grown organically on the village farm.
In the afternoons, the BYLTP studentslearned about agriculture and healthy living. The majority of each afternoon was centered around learning methods of organic farming. The youth were provided with a tour of the village farm, and taught how to make different types of fertilizer. They also appreciated a lesson on how to compost unused greens. The youth benefited from each lesson and responded with enthusiasm whenever they were handed shovels and sent to work on the farm. During the week, the group had the opportunity to make their ownfertilizer and dig holes to plant over 40 coconut trees around the reservoir on the village grounds.
The main purpose of the camp was to teach the BYLTP studentsabout the importance of agriculture and living a healthy lifestyle. The monks, along with elders in the village, talked with the youth about the significance of hard work and appreciation of one’sfamily. The group heard two elders talk about how they dealt with difficult situations in their lives, which included poverty and alcohol abuse. The elders then opened up a forum and answered any questions the group had for them. There certainly wasno lack of questions from the inquisitive youth.
Before heading to sleep at 9pm each night, the youth gathered together and discussed the lessons they learned that day. What was surely an exhausting week was also an incredible learning opportunity for all who participated. DEPDC/GMS is excited to have two BYLTP students return to Doi Pai Rai Fah Village for a two-month internship from April through May.