The 1st day was tough. We, me, the other volunteer and 2 of Sabine’s kids, had the task of bringing bricks from the other side of the river and through uphills without any evident place to put my feet on. There was a total of about 60 bricks. It’s already hot and these bricks are not light. But we do it with several breaks in between and slowly. The kids examine the bricks before handling them to us as they can have hidden scorpions, and they actually found one and tried to scare me with it. And their mission was well accomplished. They scared the hell out of me, but I was expecting the scorpions to be big, but this one was actually pretty small. Still, I don’t want to get close to it.
And this was our task for the day. It was very tough because the path to and from the river is very bad! First, we put the bricks in the boat, then we cross the river with the boat. After it, we need to climb a steep hill and then walk 3 more minutes carrying those bricks. It took us at least two hours to complete the task.
Usually, we start working at about 9 am. The breakfast is whatever we want as it is not provided. In this volunteer, we help with 700 bahts for 2 daily meals each volunteering week.
Before doing the hard work, our first task is to let the bears out to play in their relatively new playground, and damn, they truly have a whole lot of fun there. It’s so wonderful to see them play like that! They push and pull the structure, they bite each other, they fall, they roll, they play until they are exhausted and go back to the cage. For now, they need vigilance while they are playing as the walls of the playground are not tall enough so we need to keep an eye on them. Meanwhile, their cage is being cleaned once they are at the playground. So, after bringing these bricks close to the cage, the next step is to make a taller wall so they can play by themselves. But that will be done another day. We have the rest of the afternoon for ourselves.
There is nothing out here to buy, I mean, there are 3 small shops, but not with enough things for 1-week breakfasts. And usually, the things sold here are expired. This way, I and the Thai volunteer need to go out shopping and I have never needed to go so far to get some food like here. The next proper shop is 10 minutes away by bus that costs us 20 Bahts. Luckily he is Thai and can easily know which bus should we hop on. We go shopping for some food in Ba Tha Song Yang. It is actually a very nice place surrounded by mountains. People here seem intrigued by my presence… I’m sure they don’t see many Westerners here.
There are a market and some shops, just enough to buy some cookies, fruit and of course instant noodles that will be my daily breakfast. After shopping, we need to walk for 20 minutes with full bags back to the main road to catch the bus back to our volunteer village. But, we got lucky. The woman to whom I bought some juice at the market recognized me while we were standing waiting for the bus, and stopped to give us a ride back. She was Thai and didn’t have an idea about a place with such a name as Mu Aye Pu. It was my first hitchhiking experience in Thailand.
We are back just before sunset and in time for dinner that is usually cooked by Sabine’s little child with 13 years old. And at this age, he can cook pretty well.
I end up the day exhausted as before going shopping I was doing my laundry in the river. Yes, just like a villager, if I want my things washed I will have to do it by myself. And it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t have much to do, the water was refreshing and I was in that place all alone.
The following days we made a lot of carrying weights, so my back hurt a lot. Also, the bed isn’t the comfiest in the world, so I decided to use two mattresses. Now it is much better. I can’t complain. I’m loving the peace of mind this place is and how chilled things are.
Another interesting fact about my hoster that I find interesting to share, besides many other stories and facts that Sabine tells us, is that she has 6 children and 4 are adopted. Apparently, it is a thing here that mothers that don’t want their babies, give them to someone else. For example, if villagers are not married and have a baby, that is such a big shame, so they give their babies to be able to start a whole new life and find a husband just like if that baby never existed. This way, these women ask this German woman for help and she decided to keep their babies. WOW. I think my hoster is an admirable lady with almost 60 years old.
Here is my video about this place:
You can visit this place as a non- volunteer. Click below: