Baan Kok Riang

Gardening, forest preservation and week end kids activities

Project number: DaLaa 1301MLTV
Volunteers type: Medium and Long Term (two months minimum)
Max Number of Volunteers: 6
Available application period: all year round


SHORT DESCRIPTION

Kok Riang is the name of the village our organization office is situated in South Thailand. We are kindly hosted on the land of Lung Jaeng, a great life activist who also welcomes volunteers since 2013 through DaLaa to support his social and non chemical garden 3 km away. There are new plans for 2018 to replant fruits trees in the forest, 20 km away for animals to come back.  Kok Riang stands also for the name of our Voluntary Learning Center for our members and children around. Volunteers can take part in all of these activities depending on their wish and activities going on.

 

HISTORY and REASONS OF THE PROJECT

Mr. Suthep Suwankrajang known as Lung Jaeng, the host of the project has a strong social network and he is involved in voluntary work, social activism and forest conservation for many years.  Since 2013, he has been starting a big garden, 3km from his home with DaLaa volunteers and friends. They grow a variety of non chemical vegetables, rice and fruits. It’s like a social garden where everyone is welcome to drink some tea and experiment agriculture, a learning space for everyone, to grow healthy food and to exchange good ideas.

Since 2015, DaLaa office was built on his home land and nowadays we became a community sharing everyday life. We called this place Voluntary Service Center  (VSC) and we organize quite some activities like children week end activities, introduction and gathering for our middle and long term volunteers, family and children camp once a year and for 2018, we plan to organize mini workcamps with our members.

Lung Jaeng also has got a new activity for 2018. He decided with his friends to organize monthly trips in Pha Dam forest (20 km away) to replant fruit trees all over with the deep aim that animals come back to live there. At the same time, members will enjoy the teaching from the nature while walking around.

AIMS of the PROJECT

1- Start a new kind of community based on love, responsibility, harmony and freedom.

2- Our members grow in wisdom and our garden produces healthy food.

3- We can gather members and children more and more around meaningful volunteer activities.

4- Pha dam forest and we can find back our rich nature.

 

 

WORK AND ACTIVITIES

Regular work at Kok Riang is at the garden, 3km from home. It involves nurturing vegetables plants and fruit trees, compost making, collecting vegetables for our own consumption, growing seeds or nursing young plants, lots of weeding and watering too. The work may be physically hard or repetitive but there is no pressure and you will have a lot of time to relax. We have a small hut and a kitchen with wood fire and a well at the garden. Many friends come to visit so the hot time of the day is usually spent there.

On week ends, in afternoon,  we started activities with local kids, usually we do many games but we also did some crafts, planting, cooking… depending of the volunteers. We are thinking to start an alternative school in the future for kids who are not adapted to regular school.

The daily tasks like cleaning and cooking are shared by everyone. It takes some time and energy to have an healthy food and environment. When done with free will and dedication for the community, we can learn a lot from this too.

Volunteers should feel responsible for the community. It means they will become the hosts when visitors are coming, take part in new volunteer introduction and other activities organized through the Voluntary Service Center. We hope to organize few mini workcamps where Kok RIang volunteers will be included.

The last part is a new project for us but Lung Jaeng has been trying to protect this forest since he is young. It’s called Pha Dam forest. We will create a fruit tree nursery and the plan is to have a trip once a month into this forest and to plant many fruit trees. After many animals have been killed, many fruit trees species that needed animals to spread disappeared. We believe we can reverse the process.

 

FOOD and ACCOMODATION

Volunteers will live with Lung Jaeng and his family in the same house compound. Some of DaLaa staff are living there as well. Small huts are provided for volunteers. For the main house where family lives, it’s a local style lifted one storey wooden house. During the day, volunteers can hang out under the house where it is also place for cooking and eating. Regards to the hut for volunteers, there is a thin mattress and mosquito net provided. You may need to bring your own soft mattress if you’re prone to backache or wouldn’t be able to sleep on hard surface. The bathroom and toilet are separated from the main house. For shower, there’s no hot water and the restroom is local squatting style. The living condition will be very simple and you may find it completely different from your own country. Local people eat rice (or noodles) 3 times a day with side dishes like curries, omelets, local leaves and vegetables. We get some food from the garden and shop other at the local markets

OTHER PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Kok Riang is a village close to Hatyai city. Many people are working there and so the atmosphere around is not as friendly as the one in the countryside. Still it is more relax than the western world.

The most rain season is usually from October to December. There are quite some mosquitoes especially after the rain. There are a lot of ducks and chicken around to wake you up early morning 🙂

Laundry: expect to hand-wash your clothes

Water supply and electricity: available

Internet/phone access: There is WIFI but volunteers are requested to use in private areas mainly and restrain themselves when with kids and visitors.

Hat Yai, the main city of South Thailand is 30 minutes by car from Kok Riang.

REQUIREMENTS

The volunteers should be ready to stay in a community and to take responsibilities and initiatives to adapt to the local conditions with basic facilities and non English speaking people. Volunteers should be able to handle spontaneous working environment and constant changes in the plans. The mentality and way of thinking is very different from the western world.

**For ones who plan to travel in Thailand/Asia besides this voluntary work, having it done before or after the project would be advisable. We hope that volunteers will fully spend their stay in the project without asking for a long holiday break amid the project period. This would cause uncertainty in running activities.