15 Jul Bamboo Bonanza in Lahu Land
Posted at 23:41h in Southeast AsiaIn the remote hills of northern Thailand, a fading way of life continues to persist amongst the Lahu people in spite of the rapidly changing world around them. Traditional bamboo homes, small gardens, rice farming, a few pigs, chickens and a strong sense of community fill the small village. A reality far removed from ours, the people in the Jafu village now feel more like distant relatives of the Operation Groundswell team as opposed to the complete strangers they were a mere three years ago. Life is beautiful, but hard for the people of the Jafu village. The implementation of conservation initiatives to create national parks in the forests where they’ve lived for hundreds of years is done with good intentions. Unfortunately, it is done with little regard of the impact it will have on the displaced individuals who have lived in harmony with the forests for centuries. With very few of the older generations being able to read, write or even speak Thai, the likelihood of being able to integrate smoothly into mainstream Thai society are slim. The Mirror Foundation is working hard on ensuring the younger generations are getting a Thai education in order to meet the challenges of the future, while helping maintain the traditional way of life the hill tribes people are accustomed to. Over the years, Operation Groundswell groups have played a key role in making life in the Jafu village sustainable. After an accident with solar panels, the whole village was burnt to the ground, taking with it all their possessions. Relocating to the nearby village, their helpful neighbor’s homes were destroyed by a small hurricane the following year. Life has been hard and morale low, to say the very least. Since 2010, our teams have aided in rebuilding the five traditional bamboo homes, water tanks and toilets in the village and we’re proud to say that the village is starting to look pretty suave.