At Baan Than Namchai we have several projects that bring money into our community, provide lessons for the children and provide opportunities for them to work.
About 20 km. from Baan Than Namchai we have the Hands Across The Water Garden. A rubber plantation, where we collect and process the rubber latex, grow bamboo and fruit, raise pigs, ducks and chickens. The children take part in all these of activities. When fertilizer needs to be spread between the rubber trees it is amazing how quickly the job can be completed with the help, or otherwise, of 70 children!
The children love going to the plantation. They spend the time planting, weeding, collecting or whatever the job requires and then they gather around the house for what is usually the best tasting food. On special occasions we then erect the mosquito nets and the children unroll the mats and bed down on the patio’s built around the house. A real camp out!
At the plantation we also have a large fishpond. Seeded over two years ago there is now a crop of fish ready to be taken from the pond and sold at market or eaten. Our children all love to eat fish. Closer to our home we have a smaller fishpond and we have recently flooded our harvested rice paddy and seeded it with catfish. The catfish will eat any vegetation left behind, grow and mature. We will then sell or eat them and then replant the now fertilised rice paddy.
Our mushroom farm is a great success fascinating to our children and visitors alike. Once a crop begins to grow it must be harvested each morning. This is usually a job for the 12 year old boys. Sometimes the crop is just enough for us to use in the kitchen but often it is a lot bigger than we can use. At this point the boys learn weighing skills as they bag the mushrooms. They then jump on their bikes and take the bags around the local village learning marketing skills! There’s always great competition to see who can bring back the most money for Mae Ae(Rotjana).
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