IN SEARCH OF BAMBOO.
Since civilization began, man has learned to work with his natural surroundings, for shelter, warmth and food. Sadly, we now live in a world where we have turned our back on what nature provides freely available in favour of more chemically made materials. Of course, we cannot go back to living in cold and damp caves, and why should we. We cannot forget though, that nature gives us beauty and from that we can use design in the purest form.
On my last adventure, out in Thailand I am driven by taxi to a small village nestling amongst a forest of leafy bamboo. Our destination is to Asalanta Eco Village The rain has left red muddy ditches and my taxi driver is not perturbed. I am met by the owners, Aoi and Anke and their delightful and cute little girl.
‘So, you want to learn about Bamboo?’
I am not crazy, I have loads of it growing in my garden so this seemed like a good idea to learn about my own surroundings. Aoi showed me around his workshop, I am fascinated. He built all of this himself. As he hands me a machete, I am thinking at sixty should I be doing this. We laugh about my age. After learning about what to cut and what not to cut and where, I am already designing in my head the new fence I want to build at home.
‘Let’s make tea, with bamboo leaves, Aoi suggests. Time for a tea break, the stove was made from an old tin can filled with clay, bamboo was our fuel. I roasted the leaves in an earthenware pot. I had gone back to basics. At least if I was ever stranded in the jungle, I could make tea, such a life saver. The tea tasted good especially as we drank from a bamboo cup. I am loving this.
Lunch is provided in a Tea house which is built on many levels as it clambers up the side of the hill. Anke joins us as we tuck into Thai soup, rice, fish, vegetables and fresh fruit. We talk about creativity and sustainable living and why people need to experience it, if only for a short while. I found out about Asalanta Eco Village far too late for this trip. I would definitely have stayed for a week. Aoi and Anke were proud to share their skills and I left with wonderful warm feeling that they are going to do well here.
I am not going to give you the low down on everything I learned, but I now know a lot more about bamboo than I did this morning. There are other workshops you can do to learn about traditional Thai crafts but I would recommend staying for at least a week to get the full benefit. I want to come back, so if there is anyone who would like the experience please let me know and I will gladly give you the details.
I treated myself to a beautiful pair of shell earrings and heard my taxi blowing his horn, He was stuck in the mud, and needing a push.
If you enjoyed this article please buy me a coffee. It is for a great cause to help children back into school in India.