We made the 40 Km trip to Ban AYO as we wanted to hike down from the road and see what was left as nothing has been done since Chom-nom was incarcerated over two years ago.
It is an easy trip by car as the road through the village is now paved and the driving time is only about 40 minutes from our home in Mae Sai. We arrived about 10:00 AM, parked just off the road and hiked down the hill.
A lot of the over growth had been cut but there is still a lot of vegetation left to be cleared. We were glad to see the roofs of the two buildings and the rest room building were still intact. The dis-hearting part is all the glass had been broken out of the windows.
All in all, everything was in fare shape considering this project has been abandoned for over two years.
The plastic piping from the road to the water tanks and to the first building had been taken but the concrete tanks were still there. If you look real hard you can see them covered by the vegetation. We will try and find out how and why the piping was taken from the site.
In Thailand, if something is not being used the Thais feel it is okay to take it and use it. I'm not judging, I'm just saying.
We hiked back up the hill and drove another kilometer to Mechu's home. Mechu is Chom-nom's Mother. It was nice to see the flowers in bloom as this is a very dry time here in northern Thailand.
Mechu, Chom-nom's sister and some of the other folks were glad to see us. We had cookies and coffee and talked for a while. Si, Chom-nom's sister, said the water piping was taken by a man that was still owed some money when the project stopped. More will be reviled. That is Si on the far left in the picture of Mechu's front porch.
After talking for a while we agreed to pick up Mechu and Si at 5:30 AM and take them to visit Chom-nom on Tuesday, April 2nd. Mechu gets motion sickness but Daeng said she would buy her some pills to help her.
Si also told us she had to go at 12:00 Noon as she was cooking for a celebration with 28 farangs that built a classroom building for the local school. Farang is a Thai word for non-Thai, usually a westerner. We told her we would give her a ride. She said that would be great and we could eat, as well.
The trip was just over the mountain about four or five kilometers. We talked, had coffee and mango while she cooked. I loved the sink area as it was outside. To get to it from inside the cooking area you just opened the window.
It was a nice celebration. These are a group of folks that volunteer all over the world, not only giving of their time but also their money to do projects like this. You can read more on their website http://www.bethechangevolunteers.org/
We had a nice lunch after the ceremony for the Doi Sean Jai School. The Akha folks also did some dancing while lunch was served. I took a few pictures of them all dressed up. Si also dressed and danced on stage.
A good time was had by all! Well, almost all as some of us were pretty tired by this time. We told Si we would call her on Monday and see her at 5:30 AM on Tuesday.