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Posts Tagged ‘Local Wisdom’

AAN Yasothon Profile: Suwit Thankakoon

In Our Network on 28/12/2010 at 10:01 pm

Here is a new AAN Member Profile from Madeleine Dick-Godfrey, a student in the Fall 2010 CIEE Khon Kaen program:

Leaders Building Community

Madeleine Dick-Godfrey

You are in the middle of baking a cake. You realize you are missing a key ingredient, sugar. Do you: a.) Borrow sugar from your neighbors? Or b.) Drive all the way to the supermarket just to pick some up? Read the rest of this entry »

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6 Stories

In Our Network on 23/03/2010 at 4:16 pm

Here are some stories from CIEE students who learned with AAN-Esan in February – to see more about their experiences, please visit their blog

The Illusion of Choices

In American society, we value a multitude of choices because choices mean freedom. When we’re faced with two choices, any normal Joe would choose the one that makes them happier. Yes, there is a certain anxiety we feel when we’re presented with too many decisions like where to eat, what career to take, what song to listen to and all the other choices we make on a daily basis. But choices are often indicators of development. For example, if you have more choices to a career, your economy is healthy. If you can choose to buy a tropical fruit in the still of Vermont’s winter, trade is active and the power of your dollar goes far. Being able to choose between 40 varieties of cereals gives us the power to design our diets. However, in a capitalist society, have we come to appreciate the quantity of choices more than the quality? I especially want to explore this question in terms of our everyday consumer related decisions.

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Preserving Local Food Culture

In Network Events, Youth Activities on 09/03/2010 at 11:31 am

On the first Saturday in February, AAN Yasothon helped host Ban Non Yang’s 3rd Month Merit-Making Festival.  The festival celebrates the start of a new season, a time when people will work through the hot weather to do maintenance on their homes and other community development projects.  The celebration is also about community welfare, as villagers donate sacks of rice to a community stock, which families can access if they are in need of rice later on during the year.  Like last year, the AAN seized the opportunity to campaign about local foods and indigenous rice varieties.

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Sustaining Wisdom: 2 Profiles on Paw Anon Nieulai from CIEE

In Farmers Groups, Our Network on 22/10/2009 at 4:49 pm

Anon

Profile: Anon Nieulai

Maina Handimaker – Bowdoin College (mhandmak@bowdoin.edu)

Anon Nieulai was introduced to me as a wise man of his village.  Under a sky of stars that made it feel much later than 7:30, he walked me to his house.  Bundles of garlic knotted by their tops of dried grass hung along the walls, and P’Anon’s wife Boon Le pounded the smell of spices into the room with a mortar and pestle.  A helpless flopping sound came from a bucket of freshly caught fish in the corner.  Under one fluorescent light and its accompanying swarm of bugs, we ate roasted peanuts and sticky rice, eggs from P’Anon’s chickens, purple cabbage, thick carrots, and peppers picked from in front of the house.

P’Anon started farming organically eight years ago, and he is proud to share what he grows and eats.  He has grown to understand connections: between people and the land, between our health and the environment’s, between farmers and consumers, and between the villagers in his community – the ones before him, his neighbors, and the ones that will live there after him.  A wise man, to him, is someone who has “learned from their ancestors and continues learning,” and knows that those teachings are meant to be passed on to new people.

When the fish in his ponds and the frogs in his rice paddies were dying, people in his village were getting sick, and each year the crop demanded more chemicals than the year before, P’Anon realized something was wrong with the way his community was growing food.  “Our ancestors didn’t have any chemicals, and the soil was good and they had rice to eat,” P’Anon said, casually explaining the epiphany that changed the way he farms.

P’Anon grows 130 varieties of rice, vegetables, fruits, herbs, and trees. Still, while his rice is growing, he hasn’t had any surplus to sell. He is working now on a new piece of land, terracing it and preparing the soil to grow vegetables so he will once again have enough produce to sell at the green market. As a market organizer, he knows he needs to set the example he is trying to teach farmers to follow.  To be able to set that example, though, he needs help bringing water to his new land.  He learned about an Oxfam-supported GreenNet project for climate change adaptation initiatives that is partly working to develop local water systems for farmers like him.  He has applied to bring electricity to his village’s farms, so he can dig small-scale wells for water during drought and not have to run the pump with diesel.  To get one of GreenNet’s pumps, he has started working for Thailand’s Land Reform Project.  The program gives previously owned land to farmers on the condition that they begin to farm it organically, and P’Anon is helping them by teaching farmers how to make that switch. Read the rest of this entry »