The Avocado Garden Project and Lahu village Christmas gift and food distribution projects were created by CMIRC Rotarian Niwatchai and funded by CMIRC’s Ann Gfeller Clark Fund for Sustainable Agriculture in Thailand and the USA-based Thai Thaim Foundation under the leadership of CMIRC Rotarian Craig Clark. CMIRC’s Children’s Winter Clothing Distribution is led by CMIRC President Dylan Thomason.
A group of seven hardy CMIRC Rotarians met at 6:45am on the 27th and headed out to distribute food, sweaters, winter clothing and gifts to the Lahu village of Pha Phuak in Mae Hong Son Province. We then continued on to visit two of the Ann Gfeller Clark Fund for Sustainable Agriculture in Thailand’s Avocado Garden Project sites, lodging in Nashaw’s farmhouse near Ban Lok Mafai, met with project leaders from all three Avocado Garden Project sites and observed avocado plantations and pig raising. On the next day we visited the Ban Wanaluang Avocado Garden Project site, where we observed avocado plantations and grafting procedures.
CMIRC Rotarians present were project leaders Niwatchai and President Dylan (day 1 only) and volunteer CMIRC Rotarians: CP Roger, Bill T., Nicha, Myrna, and me, PP John. At all three village visits we were welcomed warmly and the Lahu villagers were very appreciative of the contributions we were making to bettering their lives. We spent the night at the most isolated of the areas, Nashaw’s farm, with no electricity or running water, but a great deal of enthusiasm and hope for the future among the Avocado Garden Project participants.
I think our visits are best described through pictures, so readers can get a look at Lahu village life only four or five hours from Chiang Mai.
Our team on the way to the Christmas gift village. We were a Rotarian team and a Lahu team of program participants and three fully loaded trucks:
Lahu Village One: Ban Pha Puak (White Cliff), Christmas gift, food, and children’s winter clothing distribution:
Lahu Village Two, Ban Lok Mafai on Nashaw’s farm, observations and meetings about the Avocado Garden Project, inoculation of baby pigs, and camping:
Day Two: Lahu Village Three Ban Wanaluang via pickup across rough terrain to observe avocado tree grafting procedures:
Thanks to all our Lahu hosts for making us feel so welcome and especially to Rotarian Niwatchai, his wife Anna, and son Wit, who made all the arrangements and did some very difficult driving. We look forward to visiting again next year and observing the progress being made in what will be the third year of the CMIRC Ann Gfeller Clark Fund for Sustainable Agriculture in Thailand, and Thai Thaim Foundation Avocado Garden Project!