Monday, September 26, 2016

Bann Nah 41 - Stories

With completion only a few days away, I couldn’t help but think back on some of the things that have happened at our farm house during the two years and three months of its construction.

With any project, there are always stories that will make you sad, mad and glad.

Mad stories at Bann Nah can be ruled out. There haven’t been any instances of raised, angry voices, demonstrations of displeasure or hostility to anyone. I should know, because if there had been such a thing, I would have been the likely culprit.

Thai/Lao people are not confrontational. As a Westerner, any inclination I might have had to be such has been kept in check by my grasp of the concept of “face” and a strong desire to have our country home be a place of only good karma.

Sad times would occur semi-regularly, though, especially at times when our workers lost heavily on the Thai Lottery, Muay Thai gambling or “chicken boxing.” Other more meaningful sadness would occur at the death of a family member or the passing of a friend, neighbor or revered monk.

The most enjoyable times were after work, drinking Leo and later Chang beer. We started with Leo, but the guys later on let me buy Chang cuz they knew I preferred it. As time went on, I realized they liked to eat bar-b-que as much as drink, so BBQ was added to the mix during the last half year.

Sam Lott and Thip's brother Pawt

The day we drilled for water on the pad was a high point, as well as rice plantings (gam kha), transplanting (tam nah) and harvests (giao khao). The posts ceremony had kicked the whole construction project into high gear, but bringing in the power lines was memorable, too.

Quiet times with just Thip and I slung in the hammocks underneath the house were the most peaceful. We’d time these moments for when we knew no-one else would be around.

Here's Thip riding in and out of Bann Nah; a very common sight.

The most dramatic time at Bann Nah was unquestionably the time when that big storm blew in, in early summer 2015, when Sam Naht and I were there. I was upstairs hugging a corner in 40-degree wind and rain, wondering what I should hold on to if the building began to fall. Meanwhile, Naht was downstairs hugging one of the cement support posts in a not-very-successful attempt to shield himself from the howling wind and rain. We laugh about that one to this day.

Sam Naht

The most beautiful times have been during the nights of Ohpensa, when sky lanterns fill the full-moon lit night skies.

I’ve seen one full moon eclipse out there, so far!

Without question, though, the happiest moment in the two years and three months was the time Sam Lott and Sam Naht hit it big in the lottery. We heard the numbers as they were announced over the radio. Subsequently, you could hear their shouts of joy all the way to the temple, I’m sure. They both made about $600 USD that day.

In my mind, I can still see their lit-up faces...

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