Thailand | UHDP

The morning was too cold for waking, or showering for that matter. The fog covered the landscape in a white haze. It felt as though there was no other place in the world right now, encompassed in our own cocoon. The center is like a camp in some sense: simple and full of barracks, communal areas, and nature. Ajaan Rick, the founder, gave us a tour and explained some of UHDP’s aspirations. I’ve been taking extensive notes, which I’m sure to appreciate later, though they are likely incomprehensible to anyone else. We split into two groups and went to work shaping flower beds and planting veggies using hoes and hands.

It was extremely difficult, and I can only imagine the strength of the villagers that were working alongside us. My muscles are not yet used to these rigors. Right after eating a shared lunch, we set about making dinner. Turns out, this is a whole day’s affair. The villagers helped us pick veggies from the patches, catch fish, and cut the bamboo (for cooking in). It took many hours and many hands to prepare such a fresh meal. I have a newfound appreciation for what goes into my UHDP cuisine. It was rather relaxing to only worry about finding plants, frying fish, and learning about each other. Some of us finally got around to showering before we all gathered to watch the school children play. Eventually, we joined in on a village football game, a great communication despite our lacking language skills. Football can indeed be a very uniting sport, as it tends to bring laughter and smiles to all, even the remarkably clumsy of us. We ate the dinner we had worked so hard to prepare and got ready for bed. Here, it feels like 2am at 6pm. I lingered outside chatting and was thus nearby when Danielle’s shriek filled the night. The shower had broken and water was pouring directly out of the wall, which was resolved via the strategic placement of a stick.

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