December 12, 2006

chiangrai 2005 - 21 MAG + Ban Apa

[171205] some of e villagers were coming to town to get food supplies for e volunteers in Ban Jalae, & would give us a ride to MAG. at 1000AM in e elastic timezone of Thailand we were to look out for a Lahu guy at e bus station. e bag-loving bus station guy was there again, & paranoid us kept moving around to avoid him =P

finally met Jatee (whom Pi Moo referred to as 'Yatee' over e phone, making e cat rather confused - don't all Lahu guys' names start with 'Ja'?) & a twincab-ful of Lahus from Ban Jalae, & set off for e wholesale market:


e market is like a giant sheltered carpark, & farmers drive their trucks laden with fresh produce here, park them in e 'parking lots', & sell their stuff from e back of their vehicles. YK found a lady selling goreng pisang, & treated us all to some. e lady had a dog that gobbled up all e bits of fried batter that fell to e ground, a really unhealthy diet!

back at MAG in Ban Huay Khom one year after A.W.E. 2004:


& then we were off to Ban Apa in e back of a truck headed for Ban Jalae, with Hep, a Thai volunteer, e 'casualty list' Pi Moo had printed out for us, & photos of A.W.E. team members together with their host families that e cat had printed out to help in identifying people (but with e sheet with Atee's family photo folded & kept away). Agong's wife was on e list =( left a dust storm in our wake as e truck bumped along e rocky unsealed road out of Ban Huay Khom. got off at e bridge outside Ban Aja & started walking up e slope to Ban Apa, not knowing what kinda 'atmosphere' to expect.

met Acha's eldest son along e way:


relieved to see them - if e kids could still be playing, perhaps things weren't that bad?

as we walked in....e familiar swing, miss q's host's hut, an unfamiliar new wooden house next to it, Agong's house, e shelter where Acha parks his truck, another unfamiliar concrete house that has taken e place of e headman's hut, e info centre built by e A.W.E. team, Atee's hut, e shop, an unfamiliar new 'karaoke palace' hut outside Naga's host's 'panda' hut, & Ata as usual busy sewing at e shelter that serves as her handicraft stall....with a villager swathed in blankets lying next to her, & more villagers sitting on a mat on e ground outside rumpel's host's hut, some with bandages, waiting for their turn to consult e village herbalist.

Ata recognised us & sprang forward to offer us bananas from e bunch she had beside her =) rest of e afternoon passed by in a blur as we went from house to house to verify & update e 'casualty list' - who, how severe, back home or still in hospital, back to work or still recuperating, etc. Mithi had been buried e day (before?) we flew off from Singapore, & Atee was now away trying to sort out legal issues, with Michu in e care of his elderly mum & other village women. there was some confusion over whether SM + HY's host's wife was e mute lady that Pi Moo said was hurt...turned out that there are two mute ladies in e village, & it was Aseu's wife who was injured. Agong's wife was seeking treatment in nearby Ban Phukor & being cared for by relatives there, & Thanchanok was helping her granddad to take care of Ban-on & Aklor while Agong was away at work.


e truck with an apparently drunk driver slid downhill & overturned into e depression on e right of e road, pinning 26 villagers beneath. those who managed to crawl/dig their way out survived. two didn't. villagers believe that e site is cursed - a villager committed suicide there some years ago.

& then we walked out to e main road & to Ban Huay Mae Sai school, before catching a songthaew back to Chiangrai city to update those in Singapore on e situation.

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