I had booked myself onto a white elephant tour for a 2 day trek in the countryside and a homestay in the village. We left at 9.30 and were given loads of different fruits and a coconut yoghurt to enjoy for breakfast. The tuk tuk journey took around 40 mins, and then we had to get out and walk! We crossed a tiny river at first by boat, this water was so brown and dirty I really didn’t want to get wet.
We then got started, it was fun walking through the jungle and having to watch your step and watch out for the branches above you, altogether it was quite an easy hike and we stopped for many breaks. For lunch we sat by a stream watching the many butterflies, the food was brought from the city and was rice with vegetables and chicken. We continued for an hour or so afterwards and reached our village homestay really early. We chilled by the school and then headed to the hut we’d be sleeping in. It was so much fun to see where we’d be sleeping – it was just a raised platform inside which had some futons on, and the bathroom was actually quite nice even if I always though a chicken would enter at anytime. I was really pleased! Our guide however disappeared for a couple hours and we weren’t sure what we were supposed to do, so I went to have a wash in the river. There was no running water here so that was the only place to wash! I saw some other women half naked washing themselves so I joined in, with my sarong on I was able to enjoy the wash and get rid of the dirt and sweat I’d collected from the day. I was washing with the German girl and I like to think that all the locals were staring at her rather than me haha.
After my wash I had a wander around the village, it was nice to see how the family enjoyed their time and what the kids got up to, they were all playing together playing kick ball (like volleyball but with kicks) and running tyres along the floor with sticks. They have shamans in these villages who help with spiritual healing, but I didn’t get to meet one. I was also happy to hear that the girls marry in their twenties now compared to 15 in the past, and have less children. This is due to there being more opportunity for education and employment for women. I can across some pig pens who were so noisy asking for food, I really like how they are so self sufficient here and it seems that all the animals are kept well. I did come across one squealing piglet who had got himself stuck under a fence, luckily a little boy came and managed to set him free without hurting it even if he tried to push the pigs head back under the fence.
For dinner we ate a meal that was brought from the city which I was really disappointed in. I was so hoping for us to eat with a family and to have local food, but we didn’t have that opportunity. We were given some rice wine to try which was strong but had an OK aftertaste, and some rice which had been soaking in the wine and tasted really sweet. As there is no electricity we ate by candle light and the villagers used torches. I did wonder why they didn’t actually hang up a torch or create a lamp so they wouldn’t have to struggle holding a torch while cooking or cleaning. That evening I spent some time looking at the stars and listening to all the animals and bugs, and then went to bed really early as I was so tired.