As soon as I arrived in Tacompaï, I fall in love with the place and its cute small bamboo huts lost in the middle of the banana trees, rice fields and gardens. I am welcomed by Sandot, a Thai men always smiling. He leaves in the farm since 20 years, and built it just by observing the nature and learning from it. It only a few years ago than some people told him, he is following permaculture principles! In the village around, people called him the “mad man” because he is doing differently.
Today, many volunteers are staying at his farm to learn how to construct bamboo houses, install solar panel, work in the rice fields or learn how to make bamboo baskets and dishes. Everybody work when he wants, there is no pressure. Days are passing fast, even if they are sometimes long. The day can start at 6am for the most courageous, who go work in the fields. Then, we prepare and eat breakfast together while Sandot tell us the program of the day. We often repair one of the bamboo constructions, or plant trees or go work in the jungle with Thai families. After a morning working under the hot sun, we are all sweaty, and it is magic to be able to jump in the natural pound, the cleanest water in the area !
Sandot is a very wise man and he is always eager to provide advice and explanations. We often meet him after lunch in the bamboo class room, where desk are hanging from the ceiling. He takes the time to answer all our questions. He tells us how is farm and the forest are organized, how he managed the water and the electricity. The discussion sometimes lasts the whole afternoon, or continues by a visit of the farm and a presentation of the edible plants. Sandot even tells us how to cook them. So I learn how to cook sticky rice, banana flower soup and bamboo sprout. It is so delicious, and such a pleasure to eat directly what we pick in the forest!
I now have to reach Laos, because my visa is expiring in a few days. But I am planning to come back in Tacompai in one month, to follow a 15-days permaculture class. I let most of my belongings at the farm, and start to hitchhike from there, with just a very small bag. I feel so free!