31 Jan 2550 Pangmapha volunteer

Trip Start Jan 08, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, February 19, 2007

1224hr 31 Jan 2550. Pangmapha town. Hillside Cottage. Everything is good. After looking at a couple of accommodation options Jim wanted to stay at the expensive place. It is a good choice, it is a really nice place. The first place we looked at was nice as well and would be good for me or for a Westerner staying for a few days, but this expensive place is really comfortable for a Westerner staying a longer time and it has a good restaurant across the road. Anyway Jim was happy to have been given the options. Jaree and Dtuk have done a good job. It is not easy to know what to give a visitor, even for me, so I think they have done quite well.

Last night Jim met the kids and had his first go at teaching. He did OK and enjoyed himself.

This morning we went out to find a gibbon. He is a solitary male, which lives close to town. Until recently he lived in a group of about 8, but the others have been killed by hunters. The Lisu and Lahu people that live in this area seem to be the main danger for the gibbons. They occasionlly hunt and eat gibbons and the Lisu in particular seem to be ever expanding their farming lands which then take away gibbon feeding areas or cut off groups so gibbons can no longer find a mate.

Anyway we were very lucky to hear this male calling in the morning and then we had some great views of him. Hopefully Jim will help Dtuk with his work to research the gibbons and educate the people here to protect them, as there are less and less left and the state of the forests is now such that it is harder and harder for them to find mates or food.

After watching the gibbons for a while we walked back to town, but took a detour up a track which lead to Coffin Cave. It is a steep short climb up to some teak coffins that are around 2000 years old. No-one quite knows who it was that had lived here then and who had this culture of carving large hardwood coffins for their dead and placing them high in caves. It is generally presumed it was the Lawa people. Hmmm, they seem very similar to the coffins found in some caves in Sabah, Borneo. More on that later.


From memory after looking at the cave with the coffins, we had some time off and looked around town a little and then caught up with Jaree and Dtuk again and headed out to Lod Cave to look inside that. Pictures are attached that will explain more than more poor attempts at English can. From the afternoon at Lod Cave we came back into town and did some more teaching in the evening. Good. Everything is going well with Jim and his volunteer placement.

I am really worried about Kanchana. I don't think she has slept very well since our house was robbed. Seems like they came in through our bedroom door. They took Kanchana's shirt (that I had brought her in Australia, and that she had not yet worn), my wedding ring, my Buddha necklace, some loose change, and Kanchana's laptop computer (that we had only recently brought after much debate on whether we could afford it or whether we should spend that much money). I think Kanchana is not feeling well and she is worried about the saftey of the kids and her mum whenever she is away now. It is not a good time for me to be so far away, but there is nothing I can do about it right now.
I think both of us are feeling that we want to leave Bangkok. I know it is silly as 90%+ of the people are really nice. But it just takes a few to give you a bad feeling and not want to stay there. It also doesn't help our thoughts that we have helped and done what we can for the people in this village and area. Kanchana works very hard to bring education to people that have missed out and I have also done teaching for free to some of the local kids. Why take from us? Anyway. Enough. More thougts in tomorrows version.
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